What is the difference between solar energy and solar power?

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Earlier this month, California celebrated its solar power milestone when the state generated over 1,000 megawatts of solar power during a heat wave. Despite its growing popularity, many Americans are still unsure on how to take advantage of this potential source of energy.

Solar energy is the primary energy source for Earth. It is received in the form of sunlight. Solar power is the conversion this sunlight into electricity. Solar panels make it possible to convert solar energy to solar power.

Photovoltaic solar panels can harness solar energy from direct sunlight as well as indirect sunlight, such as when it is cloudy. Photovoltaic solar panels San Diego are made using two pieces of silicon – one negatively charged and one positively charged – that are put together in glass casing with a metal frame.

Silicon, as a semi-conductor, can transfer the solar energy into electricity. This happens when sunlight hits the cell, and electrons are knocked off the positively charged silicon and move toward the negative charge. While they are moving, a thin wire on the negative silicon piece acquires the free electrons, creating both an internal circuit and electrical current.  When connected to an external electrical circuit, the current can then be harnessed and utilized in different areas in ones home and business.

In layman’s terms, the silicon transfers and converts the solar energy into electricity that can be used to power homes and businesses.

Solar power can be used for residential, industrial, and commercial purposes. Once harnessed through the solar panels, it can be used to provide hot water for washing and heating buildings and pools, as well as air conditioning. Other innovative products that can use solar power include electric vehicles, sports stadiums, and trashcans – and new products are being created every day.


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