This set of six interactive slides showcases how a typical photovoltaic cell converts solar energy into electricity. Explore the components of a photovoltaic cell, including the silicon layers, metal backing, antireflective coating, and metal conductor strips. Using animations, investigate why the silicon layers are doped with phosphorous and boron, and how an electric field is used to generate electricity from sunlight.
This video, from the US Department of Energy, shows the basics of how a PV panel converts light radiated from the sun into usable power, whether on the electric grid or off, and without emissions or the use of fossil fuels.
This interactive diagram from the National Academy of Sciences shows how we rely on a variety of primary energy sources (solar, nuclear, hydro, wind, geothermal, natural gas, coal, biomass, oil) to supply energy to four end-use sectors (residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation). It also focuses on lost or degraded energy.
In this short activity, students or groups are tasked to make concept sketches that track the source of electrical power as far back as they can conceive. The concept sketches reveal students' prior conceptions of the power grid and energy mix, and lead naturally into a lesson or discussion about energy resources and power production.
This video is one of a series from the Switch Energy project. It reviews the environmental impacts of various energy resources including fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewables. CO2 emissions as a specific environmental impact are discussed.
This interactive visualization created by FRED (Free Energy Data), displays energy supply (by source) and demand (by use) for each state in the US from 1960 to 2010; forecasts through 2035 are available as well.
FRED is an open platform to help state and local governments, energy planners and policy-makers, private industry, and others to effectively visualize, analyze, and compare energy-use data to make better energy decisions and form sustainable strategies.
In this activity, which comes at the beginning of a 40-day sequence of activities in an energy module, students observe the transfer of solar energy to different appliances with a solar cell and investigate the effect of using different solar sources to supply energy to appliances.
This is a series of 10 short videos, hosted by National Science Foundation, each featuring scientists, research, and green technologies. The overall goal of this series is to encourage people to ask questions and look beyond fossil fuels for innovative solutions to our ever-growing energy needs.