The suns energy can be converted directly into electricity using photovoltaic (PV) cells.
PV cells can be used for applications as small as watches and calculators to large grids of panels that generate electricity. The great attraction of PV technology is that it delivers electricity at point of use, for example panels can be installed on buildings to supply electricity to the buildings themselves. They don't need direct sunlight to produce electricity, you can still generate on a cloudy day.
PV cells are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. Groups of cells are mounted together in panels or modules that can either be mounted on your roof or on the ground.