Chapter 15: Solar Energy
Picture of sun

We have always used the energy of the sun as far back as humans have existed on this planet. As far back as 5,000 years ago, people "worshipped" the sun. Ra, the sun-god, who was considered the first king of Egypt. In Mesopotamia, the sun-god Shamash was a major deity and was equated with justice. In Greece there were two sun deities, Apollo and Helios. The influence of the sun also appears in other religions – Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, Roman religion, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Druids of England, the Aztecs of Mexico, the Incas of Peru, and many Native American tribes.

We know today, that the sun is simply our nearest star. Without it, life would not exist on our planet. We use the sun's energy every day in many different ways.

When we hang laundry outside to dry in the sun, we are using the sun's heat to do work – drying our clothes.

Plants use the sun's light to make food. Animals eat plants for food. And as we learned in Chapter 5, decaying plants hundreds of millions of years ago produced the coal, oil and natural gas that we use today. So, fossil fuels is actually sunlight stored millions and millions of years ago.

Indirectly, the sun or other stars are responsible for ALL our energy. Even nuclear energy comes from a star because the uranium atoms used in nuclear energy were created in the fury of a nova – a star exploding.

Let's look at ways in which we can use the sun's energy.

 Solar Hot Water
 Solar Thermal Electricity
 Solar Cells or Photovoltaic Energy

Next chapter will talk about Wind Energy.

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