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published by the Public Broadcasting Service and the WGBH Educational Foundation
This web page provides free access to Saved By the Sun, a 53-minute video produced by NOVA that explores how solar energy is being used to power homes, businesses, and entire communities. It takes a realistic view of solar power -- both its promises and challenges -- and the hope it holds for powering the future. The movie is supplemented by additional resources, including an interactive trip inside a photovoltaic cell and a look at new solar technologies.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
- Fundamentals
= Energy and Temperature
Classical Mechanics
- Work and Energy
= Conservation of Energy
- General
Other Sciences
- Environmental Science
Thermo & Stat Mech
- First Law
= Heat Transfer
- High School
- Middle School
- Graduate/Professional
- Lower Undergraduate
- Informal Education
- Upper Undergraduate
- Reference Material
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2007 WGBH Educational Foundation
climate literacy, energy, green energy, photovoltaic, solar cell, solar energy, solar power, solar technology
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 25, 2007 by Ann Deml
Record Updated:
September 28, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 27, 2007
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M9. Materials vary in how they respond to electric currents, magnetic forces, and visible light or other electromagnetic waves.
4E. Energy Transformations
  • 3-5: 4E/E2c. A warmer object can warm a cooler one by contact or at a distance.
  • 6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
  • 6-8: 4E/M3. Thermal energy is transferred through a material by the collisions of atoms within the material. Over time, the thermal energy tends to spread out through a material and from one material to another if they are in contact. Thermal energy can also be transferred by means of currents in air, water, or other fluids. In addition, some thermal energy in all materials is transformed into light energy and radiated into the environment by electromagnetic waves; that light energy can be transformed back into thermal energy when the electromagnetic waves strike another material. As a result, a material tends to cool down unless some other form of energy is converted to thermal energy in the material.
  • 6-8: 4E/M6. Light and other electromagnetic waves can warm objects. How much an object's temperature increases depends on how intense the light striking its surface is, how long the light shines on the object, and how much of the light is absorbed.
4F. Motion
  • 3-5: 4F/E3. Light travels and tends to maintain its direction of motion until it interacts with an object or material. Light can be absorbed, redirected, bounced back, or allowed to pass through.

8. The Designed World

8C. Energy Sources and Use
  • 6-8: 8C/M4. Electrical energy can be generated from a variety of energy resources and can be transformed into almost any other form of energy. Electric circuits are used to distribute energy quickly and conveniently to distant locations.
  • 6-8: 8C/M5. Energy from the sun (and the wind and water energy derived from it) is available indefinitely. Because the transfer of energy from these resources is weak and variable, systems are needed to collect and concentrate the energy.
  • 9-12: 8C/H5. Decisions to slow the depletion of energy resources can be made at many levels, from personal to national, and they always involve trade-offs involving economic costs and social values.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Conservation of Energy
Unit Title: Renewable Energy Sources

Thought-provoking video takes a realistic view of the promise and challenge of solar power. It explores how solar energy is being currently used to power homes and businesses, and presents research into new methods for implementing solar technology. Free download.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Public Broadcasting Service, Alexandria, 2007), WWW Document, (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/saved-by-the-sun.html).
NOVA: Saved by the Sun, (Public Broadcasting Service, Alexandria, 2007), <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/saved-by-the-sun.html>.
APA Format
NOVA: Saved by the Sun. (2007, September 27). Retrieved March 25, 2017, from Public Broadcasting Service: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/saved-by-the-sun.html
Chicago Format
Public Broadcasting Service. NOVA: Saved by the Sun. Alexandria: Public Broadcasting Service, September 27, 2007. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/saved-by-the-sun.html (accessed 25 March 2017).
MLA Format
NOVA: Saved by the Sun. Alexandria: Public Broadcasting Service, 2007. 27 Sep. 2007. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/saved-by-the-sun.html>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {NOVA: Saved by the Sun}, Publisher = {Public Broadcasting Service}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {25 March 2017}, Month = {September 27, 2007}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%T NOVA: Saved by the Sun
%D September 27, 2007
%I Public Broadcasting Service
%C Alexandria
%U http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/saved-by-the-sun.html
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D September 27, 2007
%T NOVA: Saved by the Sun
%I Public Broadcasting Service
%V 2017
%N 25 March 2017
%8 September 27, 2007
%9 text/html
%U http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/saved-by-the-sun.html

Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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NOVA: Saved by the Sun:

Supplements TryEngineering: Solar Structures

3-day unit for Grades 5-8:  Students apply knowledge of heat transfer to build a small passive solar structure with four walls, windows, doors, and a roof.

relation by Caroline Hall
Contains NOVA: How Do Solar Panels Work?

A supplementary Flash interactive that takes the learner inside a photovoltaic cell to see the physics behind solar panels.

relation by Caroline Hall
Supplements TeachEngineering: Zero-Energy Housing

Multi-day project for Grades 7-9: students work cooperatively to design a 70-square-inch solar "house" that applies principles of thermodynamics.

relation by Caroline Hall

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