Click To Return
To Main Page






Facts 'n Fun

Email Us

About Us

What is Solar Energy?

The word solar comes from 'sol' which is Latin for sun. Many countries are now looking at using energy from the sun to help us reduced global warming.

How does it do this?
The Sun is the closest star to the Earth. It is made of: hydrogen, helium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and iron. These are the same chemicals that are found in our bodies. A famous scientist called Carl Sagan pointed out that we are all 'star stuff'.

The Sun is so big you could fit a million Earths inside it. It's 150 million km's away and would take you 176 years to drive there in a fast car.

The Sun is very hot because it burns gases, mostly hydrogen. It will carry on like this for another 5 billion years when it runs out of hydrogen. It will then burn helium and get a 100 times bigger and become a 'red giant'. Then it collapses and becomes a white dwarf.

The outside of the Sun is about 2 million degrees Centigrade!!!!

So, that's a lot of energy. That energy travels as 'radiation' (invisible waves of energy) through space till it reaches Earth. It's what makes things grow, produce vitamins, allows us to see, gives us warmth and lots more things.

Imagine being able to use this energy to heat our water, power our factories, run our cars...well, it can!

At the moment, we burn coal to produce electricity. This puts terrible chemical pollution into our atmosphere and environment, produces greenhouse gases and coal is also a non-renewable energy. Once it's's gone for ever. But the sun will keep on shining for the next 5 million years!

So why hasn't our government done more to have every house and every office and every factory fitted with solar panels?

In 1990, Australia was one of the world leaders in solar innovation and installation, but that has all changed…

Even though it isn’t a very sunny country, Germany is currently the world leader in solar use. The German government has had solar schemes for some time now, incorporating solar energy in as many ways as possible. In the graph, you can see how all of the listed countries started out at roughly the same level. All of a sudden, the other countries immediately started developing solar energy schemes while Australia did nothing.

The German government has invested heavily in solar power. The German solar industry now employs 31,000 people, and is worth $6.5 billion. This proves that we don't have to keep relying on our coal and mining exports, we can change our country's wealth to be founded on solar innovation.

Info sourced from:
About the Sun:
Solar industries: Greenpeace

Images from: Sun:
Graph: Greenpeace