Heliolisk gets its electric energy from solar power, by absorbing the suns energy through its frills like a solar panel.
Photovoltaic Cells are systems that use sunlight (”photons”) to generate energy (”volts”). To explain how this works, we have to understand what goes on at an atomic level. Any electric current is made from moving charges, typically electrons. Basically all atoms have electrons orbiting the nucleus in specific, quantized shells. If given enough energy, these electrons will jump up in shells or even leave the atom altogether.
A photovoltaic cell has several layers. In the first, sunlight hits and excites the electrons, giving them energy to let them jump up and out of the molecules.
But, if the electrons have nowhere to go, you won’t get any electricity out of it. Therefore a voltaic cell will have a second layer made of a different molecule, which is positively-charge and will attract the freed electrons (reffered to as a cathode.)
Suddenly, by absorbing sunlight you have moved your electrons between the layers of your cells. Hey, moving charges create electricity! That’s how solar panels work.
However, the mainstream solar power industry uses silicon crystal-based panels, a substance which is stiff, rigid, and definitely not what’s in Heliolisk’s frills.
Fortunately, a lot of research is being done in organic photovoltaics, which are carbon based, flexible, and would be reasonable for Heliolisk to have in his body.
Heliolisk can power a skyscraper with this energy. How much energy does a Skyscraper need? It obviously depends on the skyscraper, but around 2,500 kW at any one time. That’s pretty insane for Heliolisk. Especially considering our best solar panels can only capture about 12% of the energy that hits them.