Amazing Kids! Magazine

It Came from the Sun!

by Enzo Monfre, age 11, Amazing Kids! SciTech Kids Co-Columnist and host of Exploration Nation

Editor’s Note:  Amazing Kids! is pleased to welcome Enzo Monfre, age 11, as our newest co-columnist for the Amazing Kids! Magazine’s “SciTech Kids!” column!  Enzo will be covering the Natural Sciences for us, to complement his fellow SciTech Kids! co- columnist Gen L’Esperance’s coverage of other areas of science and technology.  Enzo is also the creator and host of Exploration Nation™ a multimedia, supplemental science educational curriculum for elementary students. Watch more of Enzo’s Enzoology videos and learn more about Exploration Nation here: www.enzoology.com

I’m in the middle of making a new Exploration Nation episode about energy.

I’ve researched and studied different types of energy sources: solar power, wind power, biofuels, and fossil fuels. Let’s start out with one of my favorites, solar energy.

We traveled to San Antonio, Texas to visit Duke Energy’s Blue Wing Solar Project. They have the largest collection of photovoltaic solar panels in Texas, more than 200,000 of them!

So what are photovoltaic (P.V.) or solar panels, you ask? A P.V. device is made
of silicon and glass, and is usually a square or rectangular shaped panel, it turns the sun’s energy directly into electricity.

Here’s how it works: The sun’s energy is made of photons. The sun sits up there in space just radiating tons of photons (super tiny particles of energy). When enough photons are absorbed into the solar panel, it releases electrons… and moving electrons is electricity.

The best things about solar energy is it does not produce any pollution and it’s inexhaustible. That means we will never run out!

But there are a couple of drawbacks to solar energy.

1.The amount of sunlight that arrives at the Earth’s surface is not constant.It depends on the time of day, the time of year, weather conditions and location.

2.The sun does not deliver energy to one place at one time, so it takes a large surface area to produce electricity at a useful rate.

As scientists continue to work on these problems, solar energy might be a great source of endless energy to power our houses, video games and just about everything else.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the video we did at the Blue Wing Solar Project.