ION Solar Blog

Test Your Solar Knowledge!

Think you’re a solar expert? Take this quiz to find out just how much you know about solar power!


  1. Devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity are called
    a. Photosynthetic
    b. Photovoltaic
    c. Photo-converters
    d. Phototonic
  2. Sunlight is composed of which type of energy particle?
    a. Electrons
    b. Protons
    c. Photons
    d. Neutrinos
  3. What famous scientist was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in photovoltaic power?
    a. Bill Gates
    b. Thomas Edison
    c. Isaac Newton
    d. Albert Einstein
  4. If all the energy of the sun shining on the Earth’s land mass could be harnessed, it would be enough to meet the world’s power needs how many times over?
    a. 6 times
    b. 60 times
    c. 600 times
    d. 6,000 times
  5. When was the first discovery that certain metals produced an electric current when exposed to light?
    a. 1752
    b. 1839
    c. 1911
    d. 1952
  6. What were researchers originally trying to achieve when they developed the first practical photovoltaic (PV) cell in 1952?
    a. A power source for telephone systems
    b. A power source for remote desert location
    c. A power source with no carbon dioxide emissions
    d. A power source that allowed households to get off the electrical grid
  7. Which is NOT one of the ways researchers are seeking to drive down the cost of solar photovoltaic cells?
    a. By removing impurities in silicon
    b. By using new materials
    c. With photovoltaic material that can be “painted” on
    d. By using geospatial software to design systems online
  8. The solar arrays on the International Space Station are visible from Earth. They are the largest deployable space structures ever built. How much power can they produce?
    a. 1 kilowatt
    b. 10 kilowatts
    c. 100 kilowatts
    d. 1,000 kilowatts
  9. Photovoltaic solar energy is the only type of electricity generation that DOESN’T require
    a. Water
    b. Moving Parts
    c. Connection to the electricity grid
    d. Wiring
  10. What is essential for a rooftop PV system to work?
    a. An inverter
    b. A rheostat
    c. A connection to the electric grid
    d. A battery
  11. Which of the following accounts for the most energy use in a home?
    a. Electronics
    b. Heating and cooling rooms
    c. Water heating
    d. Refrigeration
  12. Which energy source releases the most climate-altering carbon pollution?
    a. Oil
    b. Coal
    c. Natural Gas
    d. Solar
  13. How often are solar panels installed in the US?
    a. Every day
    b. Every hour
    c. Every 20 minutes
    d. Every 4 minutes
  14. The amount of energy in _________ of direct sunlight striking the earth would fuel worldwide energy consumption for one year.
    a. 24 hours
    b. 40 minutes
    c. 5 minutes
    d. 1 week
  15. In the late 1950s the US began using photovoltaic cells to power
    a. Nuclear generators
    b. Space satellites
    c. Telephone lines
    d. All of the above


  1. Answer: B, Photovoltaic
    Yes! Photovoltaics is the technology used to convert light to electricity. These devices generate electricity directly from sunlight. They work by an electronic process that occurs naturally in certain materials, called semiconductors.
  2. Answer: C, Photons
    Yes! Light energy is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Light consists of photons, which are produced when an object’s atoms heat up.
  3. Answer: D, Albert Einstein
    Yes! Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for the explanation of the photoelectric effect. The idea is what makes solar panels work today!
  4. Answer: D, 6,000 times
    Yes! The sunshine on the Earth’s land is estimated to be 120,000 terawatts (trillion watts), or about 6,000 times the world’s estimated 20-terawatt electricity demanded by 2020.
  5. Answer: B, 1839
    Yes! French physicist Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel noticed the effect when working with metal electrodes in an electrolyte solution, but he couldn’t explain why.
  6. Answer: A, A new power source for telephone systems
    Yes! Researchers at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, were interested in a power source for telephone systems that would not degrade in humid locations.
  7. Answer: A, By removing impurities in silicon
    Yes! Impurities in the silicon actually cause the free electron movement that creates electric current. But scientists are working on newer and thinner materials, even solar ink and paint.
  8. Answer: C, 100 kilowatts
    Yes! After Space Shuttle astronauts in 2009 delivered the last addition to the solar array, total capacity was 80 to 100 kilowatts, enough to power 42 homes, said NASA contractor Boeing. The solar arrays are 240 feet (73 meters) long.
  9. Answer: B, Moving Parts
    Yes! Solar PV panels are the only means today of generating electricity without moving parts.
  10. Answer: A, An inverter
    Yes! An inverter is needed to convert the direct current produced by the solar panels to alternating current required by most household appliances.
  11. Answer: B, Heating and cooling rooms
    Yes! More than half of energy use in homes is for heating and air conditioning!
  12. Answer: B, Coal
    Yes! In 2016, cal plants released 1,241 million metric tons of CO2 or a 68 percent share of the total 1,821 million metric tons. An uncontrolled coal plant releases many harmful pollutants: these include about 114 pounds of lead, traces of uranium, and 720 tons of carbon monoxide.
  13. Answer: D, Every 4 minutes
    Yes! According to Green Tech Media, the US is installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system for every four minutes!
  14. Answer: B, 40 minutes
    Yes! The sunlight striking the Earth’s surface in just under an hour delivers enough energy to power the world for an entire year!
  15. Answer: B, Space satellites
    Yes! The US began this practice in the 1950s and continues to use solar energy to power the Hubble Space Telescope and more!

No you are an expert in solar power! Challenge your friends by sending them the link below!

Some questions taken from


Featured Articles

1 How to Clean Your Solar Panels
2 More Energy Falls from the Sun on the Earth in an Hour
3 ION’s Three-Year Sales Growth of 9,507% Ranks it #24 on the List and the Highest Ranked Utah-Based Company

You Might Also Like ...