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  • Solar Power

    You won’t believe what’s happening on your roof right now

    We all know the facts about solar power; how much money it can save you on power, the peace of mind knowing what your electricity costs will be and that you’re doing your bit for the environment.

    But delve a little deeper and you’ll be amazed just how incredible the science of solar really is.

    Photons: The basis of solar energy

    Thanks to the genius of Albert Einstein, we now have an understanding of what photons are all about. The energy we get from solar panels is a result of an endless stream of photons bombarding the earth. These elementary particles are present in the light that the sun gives off, and one of their amazing properties is that they can be absorbed by silicon.

    Solar at the speed of light

    Because photons are delivered by light, they travel from the sun to us here on earth at an astonishing 1.07 billion kilometres per hour. That means it takes them a mere 8 minutes to cover the 149.6 million kilometre journey.

    About time

    The conversation about light and speed inevitably gets pretty complex because time becomes a factor. Without getting bogged down into the quantum physics of it all, the fact is when we look out into space and see light, due to the massive distances involved, we are actually looking back in time. It’s a little hard to get your head around, but when we look at the moon for example, we are actually seeing what it looked like one second ago. And when we look at the sun that helps us power our homes, we are actually seeing what it looked like 8 minutes ago.

    Ageless technology

    Photons tend to bounce around inside the mass of the sun for a very long time before they are randomly flung out to travel through space and land on our solar panels. Apparently, the average age of a photon is about 10 million years old, so even though we think of solar as new technology, it’s actually a brilliant piece of science created when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

    So next time you turn on your solar powered hot water, spare a thought for those billions of photons heading straight from the sun to your roof – the ultimate home delivery. 

    21 July 2014

    Solar Power

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