The Rundown on Solar Power
In short, solar power provides electricity for homes and buildings. It is so effective that it can be used in place of traditional electricity or other sources of energy.
The word “solar” comes from the Latin word for “sun.” “Solar power” refers to the powerful energy we get from the sun.
Thousands of years ago, people realized the power of the sun and, even then, people tried to use solar power to make their homes more comfortable in the winter. It’s a reliable, eco-friendly energy that doesn’t run out and doesn’t create pollution the way some sources of energy, such as gas or coal, can.
Today, especially in California, solar power is a fitting source of energy, thanks to the state’s conducive climate.
Harnessing Solar Energy in California
As the sun shines down on Earth, different areas can collect different amounts of solar power. San Diego, California, for example, is a warm and sunny city that gets a lot of intense sunlight throughout the year.
In fact, all of Southern California is an ideal place for solar energy collection.
A California solar power companies installing in this area use solar thermal collectors, which absorb heat energy from the sun. This energy is then used to heat water or make electricity. If a system is big enough, the cells that turn sunlight into electricity can even make enough electricity for a whole neighborhood.
An area that’s open to the sky, without too many trees overhead, is needed to collect solar energy.
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- What Is Solar Energy? (PDF)
- Solar Energy Technology Basics
- The History of Solar (PDF)
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- Benefits of Solar Power (PDF)
- Solar Panels Keep Buildings Cool
- Solar Energy: The Way of the Future?
Solar panels are set up so the sun shines down on them on an ideal angle. When the sun hits the panels, tiny solar cells, also called photovoltaic cells, absorb the sunlight. These cells might be as small as a half an inch or as large as four inches each.
The solar cells then absorb the energy and use it to move electrons to a second layer of the cells. When the electrons hit the second layer, this forces other electrons to move down, too.
This movement of electrons is actually electricity, which can power appliances in a house.
In the United States, California solar power is prominent due to the abundant sunshine and heat in this area. California was early to the solar power movement, for instance, the Mojave Desert in southern California has a solar power plant that has been running for decades!
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How you Can Use Solar Energy in the Home
Whether you live coastal, inland, atop rolling hills or even in the mountains, California residents in all regions can find multiple uses for solar energy in the home.
With solar panels, you can collect solar energy to use for air conditioning, to heat water, and to power appliances. A battery can store extra energy so that the house can have power at night and on cloudy days, like those signature “May Gray and “June Gloom” months sunny SoCal often experiences.
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Some Solar Energy Fun
California solar power is leading the future of energy.
Want to learn more about solar energy? Activities like building a solar oven with a box, aluminum foil and a few other materials, can show you how to use the power of the sun to cook a fun snack.
You could even build a solar night light out of a jar and a solar path light. Try out the following games, experiments and activities to get a hands-on experience with solar energy.
- 10 Fun Solar Experiments
- Solar Energy Coloring Book (PDF)
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- How Solar Panels Work (video)
- Energy Games and Icebreakers (PDF)
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California Solar Power Regions served by Semper Solaris
Take a look at the top locations we serve in California to find out more information about your city.