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A Kid's Guide to Solar Power in the Home

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“Energy efficiency” is the term used to refer to the good use of electricity. Appliances, computers and even cars use electricity. The demand for electricity and the difficulty in creating electricity make it imperative that everyone use it wisely. There are many ways to save energy that are both easy, such as turning off the light when you leave a room, and fun, like playing outside rather than indoors in the summertime.

With so many people using energy all day, every day, the government and even individuals are looking for new energy sources. Because of the sun’s power and the fact that many southern states, like Florida, are sunny much of the year, the sun is being looked to as a major source of energy. Capturing power from the sun is called “solar power”. Solar power is gathered by dishes or panels that face the sun and collect the heat from the sun’s rays. The collected heat is then changed from energy to electricity, which can be used to heat or cool houses and even run electric cars. Solar power plants are located all over the world; the biggest plant in the United States is located in California. With solar power being a new and emerging technology, there is still much to learn. For more information on solar power, look to the fun and interesting resources below.

Solar Power Information

  • Solar Basics: This site, provided for by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, talks about how solar power is collected and turned into energy.
  • Solar Energy: This website talks about why solar energy is important and how it is collected and used.
  • Solar Energy: Younger Kids: Solar Energy International provides basic information in an easy to understand format for younger kids.
  • Solar Energy: Older Kids: Solar Energy International discusses more advanced topics in solar energy such as photovoltaics, thermal energy and more.
  • Solar Energy for Kids: See what the White House has to say about solar energy! This page answers some of the most often asked questions by kids about solar power.
  • Exploring Nature, Solar Energy: This page talks about why solar power may assist our energy needs. 
  • What is Solar Energy?: This page explains what solar energy is and how it can be used to heat water and provide electricity for other appliances. 
  • Solar Videos: This site contains videos provided by the U.S. Department of Energy about the collection of solar heat and the process of turning solar heat into energy.
  • Solar Energy Basics: This site explains how solar power is concentrated and used to heat water.
  • Energy and the Environment: This website talks about the basics of solar power, including how solar energy is used to make electricity.
  • What is Renewable Energy: This page explains what renewable energy is; solar power is renewable energy.

Solar Power in the Home

  • Kids Saving Energy: The US Department of Energy provides a fun page for kids about using energy wisely in the home, games and renewable energy information
  • Energy Star Kids: A great website for kids about saving energy in the home.
  • Are There Vampires in Your House?: Energy vampires, that is! Find out which appliances and other things in your home use up the most electricity. 
  • Solar Power at Home: You can use this website to find out how to produce solar power in your home.
  • Roofus' Home: A fun and interactive game for kids about solar energy efficiency in the home.
  • How You Can Save Energy: This site tells you what you can do at home to save electricity.
  • Using and Saving Energy: Energy Kids provides a page with information on energy use, energy and the environment, energy in homes and commercial buildings, and much more.
  • Kids for Saving the Earth: This website talks about where to look to see how much energy your house uses. 
  • Changes at Home: This page describes nine main changes people can make to help their homes be more energy efficient.
  • Saving Energy: A fun quest for kids about how they can save energy throughout their home.

Solar Activities

  • Energy Quest: On this page the State of California has created games about solar power. Have fun!
  • Test Your Energy IQ: Here, you can take two quizzes to see how much you know about the United States’ energy use.
  • Energy Activity Book: Print out this book to test your solar knowledge through fun games.
  • Science Experiment: Test out the sun’s heat! Perform this experiment to see whether the sun or shade is hotter.
  • Solar Distiller Experiment: Use this test to see how the sun can help make clean water.
  • Energy Calculators: These calculators will help you identify how much gas, coal, electric and even food energy you use each day. 
  • Build Your Own Solar Oven!: This website tells you how to build your own solar oven so you can see the sun’s power for yourself!
  • Solar S'mores: Who says solar power can’t be delicious? Make your own delicious, sun cooked treats! 
  • Solar Photos: This page has pictures of where solar panels are used around the neighborhood. Solar powered stop light, anyone?
  • Switch It Off!: This interactive game shows just how much energy an individual person can save by turning off lights and appliances they’re not using. 

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