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Solar stirling plant pdf

The Sun, a seething ball of nuclear power, has enough fuel onboard to drive our Solar System for another five solar stirling plant pdf years—and solar panels can turn this energy into an endless, convenient supply of electricity. Solar power might seem strange or futuristic, but it’s already quite commonplace.

You might have a solar-powered quartz watch on your wrist or a solar-powered pocket calculator. Many people have solar-powered lights in their garden. Spaceships and satellites usually have solar panels on them too. The American space agency NASA has even developed a solar-powered plane! The upper wing surface is covered with lightweight solar panels that power the plane’s propellers. Picture courtesy of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. How much energy can we get from the Sun?

Photo: The amount of energy we can capture from sunlight is at a minimum at sunrise and sunset and a maximum at midday, when the Sun is directly overhead. Earth’s surface and light up the whole planet with the Sun’s energy! The energy the Sun sends out arrives on Earth as a mixture of light and heat. Both of these are incredibly important—the light makes plants grow, providing us with food, while the heat keeps us warm enough to survive—but we can’t use either the Sun’s light or heat directly to run a television or a car.

A solar cell is an electronic device that catches sunlight and turns it directly into electricity. It’s about the size of an adult’s palm, octagonal in shape, and colored bluish black. On a good day, it probably generates about 4 kilowatts of electricity. We can think of light as being made of tiny particles called photons, so a beam of sunlight is like a bright yellow fire hose shooting trillions upon trillions of photons our way.