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  • Can the Sun be used to generate electricity?

  • An MIT team has developed a novel system for capturing and storing the sun鈥檚 heat so it can be used to generate electricity whenever it鈥檚 needed. The new system is simple, durable, and inexpensive. Mirrors mounted on a hillside reflect sunlight directly into a large tank of molten salt, which absorbs the heat throughout its depth.

  • What is solar energy and how does it work?

  • Solar energy also evaporates water that falls as rain and builds up behind dams, where its motion is used to generate electricity via hydropower. Most Americans, however, use solar energy in its secondhand form: fossil fuels.

  • What is the source of energy in the Solar System?

  • The Sun. We consume energy in dozens of forms. Yet virtually all of the energy we use originates in the power of the atom. Nuclear fusion reactions energize stars, including the Sun, and the resulting sunlight has profound effects on our planet.

  • How much energy does sunlight produce?

  • Sunlight contains a surprisingly large amount of energy. On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer鈥攊f all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

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