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Energy Department runs a Solar Decathlon every two years. Teams of college students take part, trying to design and build the best solar-powered house. Races of solar-powered cars also get a large amount of attention. One such race, the World Solar Challenge, takes place every two years in Australia. Another race, for people from the United States and Canada, is the North American Solar Challenge. The race is also held every other year. S. Energy Department sponsors a contest especially for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.

Solar array: A group of solar modules that are linked together. solar cell: A small device that makes electricity from sunlight. solar module: A group of solar cells that are linked together. solar panel: Another name for a solar module or solar array. tax reduction: A decrease in taxes that someone must pay. terrorist: A person who uses violence for political purposes. theory: A statement or idea that explains why something happens. tides: The rise and fall of the oceans twice each day, caused by the gravity of the Sun and the Moon.

Their cost might go down, too. Still, solar energy seems to have a bright future. CH Cost Down, Efficiency Up PV cells are a good example of how solar technology has progressed. Cells in the 1950s did not work very well. Their efficiency was low. Efficiency measures how good a cell is at turning the light it receives into electricity. Efficiency tells how much of the received energy is converted into useful electricity. In the 1950s, the efficiency of PV cells was about 6 percent. Even with that low efficiency, the cells cost a lot of money.

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