Special light sensitive surfaces called photovoltaic cells are arranged in a grid over a large surface area of a panel. These cells capture the energy from sunlight and convert this into electricity.

The sun also radiates heat which can be captured by heat absorbing panels and used to heat water.


  • Solar is a clean, efficient and sustainable form of energy.
  • The worldwide demand for Solar Photovoltaic (PV) energy is greater than supply.
  • Every minute, enough solar energy arrives on Earth to meet our energy demands for a whole year – if only we could harness it properly !!!
  • The largest vertical solar panel array in Europe, attached to three sides of the CIS Tower in Manchester, generates enough electricity in one year to make 9 million cups of tea.
  • Houses can be designed to capture the sun’s heat energy so that there is no need for specialised technology.
  • Solar energy is free – it needs no fuel and produces no waste or pollution.
  • Solar power can be used to generate electricity in remote places.
  • Energy is usually generated at the point of consumption so keeps transport costs low.
  • It is excellent for low-power uses such as garden lights and battery chargers.


  • Does not work at night.
  • Very expensive to build large scale solar power stations.
  • Need to cover a large area with panels in order to produce meaningful amounts of energy.

Local Applications

  • Bridge of Don Academy solar heated swimming pool.
  • City and Shire road sign illumination.