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Make a Solar Panel Category: Science
Dated: 2012-02-07
More energy reaches Earth from the Sun than could be converted by millions of power stations. The Sun's energy costs nothing, but how can we use it?

We can use the Sun's energy to heat the water in our homes. One way this can be done is with a solar panel. This is a glass topped box fixed to the roof of a building facing the Sun.

The inside of the box is painted black. Black is best at taking in, or absorbing heat. Water flows through pipes inside the box. During daylight, this water is heated by the Sun's energy.

You can see how a solar panel works by making your own. Do this on a bright, sunny day.


Steps to be taken

1. Fill the baking tray with cold water one centimetre deep. Use the thermometer to find out the water temperature. If you don't have one, test the water with your finger.

2. Place the glass or plastic over the tray. Leave it in the sunshine for an hour. If you do not have a black baking tray, you can line your tray with black plastic.

3. Take the lid off the tray and put the thermometer or your finger back in the water. You will find the water is warmer than before.
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  • A sheet of clear plastic or glass
  • Water
  • A thermometer
  • A baking tray with black insides