Solar Heating Solar panels, using the Sun's energy to generate electricity, is only one way to make use of solar power. We can also use the Sun's energy to heat our homes, and to heat water. Water can be piped though panels painted black. The water is heated as it passes through the panel and stored in a hot water tank. Using the Sun's energy in this way does not have to be complicated, or expensive. Boat owners can buy plastic bags to hang from deck fittings. Water in the bag is heated by the Sun, and gives sailors a cheap and convenient means to take a warm shower.