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Solar Power Basics
https://energy.gov/eere/sunshot/downloads/solar-power-basics

US Dept. of Energy/Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

This introductory video summarizes the process of generating solar electricity from photovoltaic and concentrating (thermal) solar power technologies.

Video length: 3:57 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 7 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • While not comprehensive coverage of the subject, this video can be used as an introduction to the two primary ways solar energy is harnessed to generate electricity.

About the Science

  • Describes how solar power is harnessed in simple and understandable terms.
  • The video focuses on strengths of solar power but does not address limitations or weaknesses.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Good, simple introduction to solar energy. Please note: The narrator states that "Solar power interacts with greenhouse gases." This is not correct. Greenhouse gases primarily absorb the outgoing infrared radiation emitted by the Earth and generally do not interact with solar wavelengths.

About the Pedagogy

  • Easy-to-understand narration and visuals about two types of solar energy technology. Applications of the technology are also discussed.
  • Educators will need to expand upon the scientific concepts directly and indirectly presented in the video, i.e. energy capacity and storage, how pv panels work, etc.
  • Can be used in conjunction with other CLEAN-selected solar energy activities and resources.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Closed-captioned text is included.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:


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