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Solar fountains work compliments of Mother Nature. The sun typically provides about 1,000 watts of solar energy per square meter of the earth's surface and that's a lot of wattage. (For non-metric folks, a square meter and a square yard are almost identical. A square yard is just slightly less than a square meter.)
Here's a very basic explanation of how solar energy is produced. Solar panels are made up of very thin photovoltaic (PV) cells created primarily from a material (typically silicon) that functions as a semiconductor. When the silicon combines with additional elements, a photovoltaic reaction occurs that converts sunlight to energy. This energy produces water flow or spray for a solar fountain.
When a solar panel has a battery back-up, solar energy can be stored for later use. For instance, most solar powered fountain lights feature a built-in battery and sensor that stores energy by day to produce light at night. Remote solar panels can also be used to collect the sun's power and operate an indoor solar fountain up to 10-15 feet away.