When solar energy is used for generating electricity, it is the light that is used, not the heat. Photovoltaic (solar) cells made of silicon absorb certain wavelengths of light, exciting the electrons in the cells to produce electricity. However, solar energy can also refer to using the sun’s heat (solar thermal energy). A different type of panel can be used to absorb the sun’s heat to raise the temperature of water or to provide space heating in buildings. Here’s a low-tech way to capture the sun’s heat energy for yourself.
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