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How effective would solar cells be in any particular area of the United States? In this activity, students answer that question by analyzing graphs of incoming solar radiation. Students will download two solar radiation graphs, one based on latitude and one based on cloud cover. After transferring that data to the accompanying worksheet, students will determine the areas in the United States best suited for the use of solar cells. Using both an overlay graph and a difference graph, students will determine the practicality of solar cell power for a home in various U.S. locations. This lesson uses student- and citizen science-friendly microsets of authentic NASA Earth system science data from the MY NASA DATA project. It also includes related links, extensions, an online glossary, and a list of related AP Environmental Science topics.
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