Solar Panels

A solar panel is made up of many small solar cells. Each solar cell uses light to make electricity.

We see electricity at work every day. When a person turns on a lamp, electrons move through the cord and light up the bulb. That flow of electrons is electricity.

Solar cells use light to make electrons move. The cell is made up of two different layers that are stuck together. The first layer is loaded with electrons, so the electrons are ready to jump from this layer to the second layer. That second layer has some electrons taken away. It is ready to take in more electrons.

When the light hits an electron in the first layer, the electron jumps to the second layer. That electron makes another electron move, which makes another electron move, and so on. So the light started a flow of electrons, or electricity.

Solar cars have been developed in the last 20 years and are powered by energy provided from the sun. They get their power from flat solar panels on top, that take in the sun light. A solar powered vehicle can only run efficiently when the sun shines, although most vehicles of this type have a battery backup. Electricity is stored in the batteries when the sun is shining and this power can be used when sun light is restricted (when it’s cloudy).

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