How Does Solar Energy Work?

The sun is a powerful force! 

And with such potential for conversion to our conventional energy needs, we are truly beginning to reap its enormous benefits in a way that we'd never been able to before. The sun has radiant, thermal and spectral effects such as those we’re very familiar with: Whenever something or someone is warmed from being exposed to its rays (directly or indirectly), or say a person is sunburned or an object is faded (directly only) by it. By converting the sun’s rays as we intend, for either thermal or spectral (photoelectrical) energy output once it strikes our intended “target” (the solar hot water collector, or solar electric panel) we are able to self-generate the energy we seek, rather than having to create it from other means. Such as those we’ve used over the last several thousand years or so: By burning oil, coal, natural gas, wood, etc. to drive turbines & generators for electricity creation, or to directly heat objects, water and air. 

The sun’s own power potential, when unleashed on the technologically advanced designs (the solar electric panels, solar thermal collectors, etc) that have been developed over the last 50+ years and is now coming to full fruition, is absolutely clean and requires no more than the material itself and the expertise to produce them --- all clean, recyclable, non-hazardous and no longer expensive or highly difficult to produce in mass quantities.  What was once solar's major future potential has truly become now.