At Energy Matters, we want young Australians to be as inspired by solar as much as we are to ensure the good work already being done in moving towards Australia’s renewable energy future continues.
We’ve assembled a few interesting educational resources and trivia on this page – we hope you enjoy them and it gets you thinking about perhaps pursuing a career in renewable energy!
How many solar panels to power your home?
Use the calculator below to see a rough estimate of how many solar panels would be needed to generate enough power to supply all the electricity used in your home.
How does home solar power work?
The following image shows how a ‘grid connect’ solar power system works. With a grid connect system, you are still connected to mains power; which supplies your home at night and other times when the solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity.
- The sun shines on the solar panels, generating “DC” (Direct Current) electricity.
- The electricity is fed into a solar inverter that converts into “AC” (Alternating Current) electricity.
- The AC electricity is used to power appliances in your home.
- Any power not required by your home goes via your home’s switchboard into the mains power grid for others to use.
In a way, the mains power grid acts as a “bank” – excess power is
exported to the mains grid and you take power back when needed.
Why is renewable energy so important?
Bill Nye the Science Guy compares renewable and non-renewable energy sources and explains the importance of clean power.
Energy 101: Solar Power
A video about the different types of solar devices and how they work, along with the advantages and disadvantages of solar power.
How A Solar Panel Converts Sunshine To Electricity
How energy from the sun in the form of photons is soaked up by solar panels and transformed into clean electricity.
How A Solar Panel Is Made
‘From sand to solar’ – how leading panel manufacturer REC makes its solar modules.
Solar power trivia
- The Earth receives more energy from the sun in an hour than is used in the entire world in one year.
- In 1839 Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect which explains how electricity can be generated from sunlight.
- In 1941, Russell Ohl invented the solar cell, shortly after the invention of the transistor.
- It would take far less than 1% of the Earth’s land area covered in solar panels to supply all of the world’s electricity needs.
- If all the rooftops in Australia were covered with solar panels, it would supply all the nation’s electricity needs.
- Weight for weight, silicon solar cells generate the same amount of electricity over their lifetime as nuclear fuel rods – and are much safer!
- The amount of energy that goes into creating solar panels is paid back through clean electricity production within anywhere from 1-2 years.
- A solar panel can work for decades. Some installed in the 1970’s are still generating electricity .
- Wind is a form of solar power, created by the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface.