Scottish Power Renewables Whitelee Windfarm visitor centre

Solar energy is energy that is created from the Sun. 

The sun may be thousands of miles from the earth but it is still powerful enough to generate electricity. In fact, the sun is so powerful it generates enough electricity to meet a year’s demand in just one minute. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet discovered how to fully capture all of this energy but we have made a start.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is solar?

Solar is the name given to electricity that is generated from the power of the sun. There are three main ways of using the sun’s energy to generate electricity: photovoltaic panels, thermal panels and solar furnaces.

How does solar technology work?

Photovoltaic panels are placed in a sunny location and they convert all of the sunlight that shines on them into electricity. Do you use a calculator? Have a look and see if it is powered by a photovoltaic panel. Thermal panels capture the heat from the sun’s rays and then use this to heat water. This can be used at home to power central heating. Solar furnaces concentrate the sun’s rays to create very high temperatures. These are often used in scientific experiments but can also be used commercially to cook food (but only where it is really sunny!). Solar furnaces are a collection of carefully angled mirrors that are used to concentrate the sun’s rays onto a fixed point.

Is solar renewable?

Solar is renewable as the sun will always shine.

What are the advantages of solar?

Solar panels can be used anywhere and can be a great source of generating electricity where there isn’t a close grid connection. Generating electricity from the sun is clean and green as it produces no pollution or waste materials.

What are the disadvantages of solar?

Solar panels only work during the day, as the earth doesn’t receive light from the sun at night. The technology needed to build solar panels is expensive but installing this technology now will save you money in the future.

Related Information


Do you know that then tides are powerful enough to generate electricity? 



Generating electricity from the power of waves is an exciting and new possibility



Plants, crops and waste can all be used to create electricity. Want to know more? 



Water is great, it washes our dishes, cleans our clothes and can even generate electricity!nbsp;