Harnessing sun's power

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 September, 1996, 12:00am

Solar panels work through silicon cells, which capture the sun's energy and turn it into moving electrons. In 1839 Edmund Becquerel made the discovery that allowed solar energy to be developed. He found that sunlight falling on the right material created a spark.

This came to be known as the 'photo-electric effect'. This spark, it was found, could be turned into an electrical current. With the silicon cell, about 10 per cent of the sunlight taken in is turned into electricity.