Like other new tech that’s helping us break our debilitating fossil fuel habit, solar is utterly imperfect. But it has immediate benefits to society and to you personally — even if you don’t paper your wall

We can’t safely perform fusion on Earth yet, but we can harvest the energy produced by Sol’s fusion from pumps, collectors or photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Such installations are referred to as “active solar.” On the flip side, “passive solar” means improving your home’s energy efficiency with new windows, better insulation, etc. In so many words: If your home is very inefficient, address that first.

So, how do solar/PV panels work? They use something called the “photoelectric effect,” . In brief, PV panels are made from semiconductor materials that give off electrons — energy — when excited by light.

Right now, you can install relatively cheap technology on your own roof and power your house, gadgets and even your car. For free! Sorcery? Not so much. The Earth receives more energy from our sun in about one hour than humans consume in an entire year. That’s why solar power was the second leading source of new energy last year