The sun is approximately 93 million miles away from the planet Earth, yet it is still possible for the sun's rays to provide energy to heat our homes and produce electricity to power our appliances.
Light As Energy
Light is a complex component of our natural world that can be regarded as either a particle or wave. The dual nature of light does not affect the ability of this form of energy to be harnessed as a practical source of energy.
Cells made primarily from silicon are now used to convert the energy from sunlight directly into electricity. This process is made possible because silicon produces an electric charge when exposed to sunlight.
Photovoltaic cells produce a direct current, which is usually modified to alternating current by a small transformer.
Passive Solar Energy
Passive solar energy is created when the sun's rays fall upon a dense, reflective surface. Heat then radiates from the passive collector or reflective surface to warm the enclosed space.
Solar Heated Water
Water can be heated directly or indirectly by the sun to raise the temperature of the water. The heated liquid is then pumped through the water heater as either heat or just plain hot water.