All About Solar

All About Solar – The Basics

Did you know more energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year. A variety of technologies convert sunlight to usable energy for buildings. The most commonly used solar technologies for homes and businesses are solar water heating, passive solar design for space heating and cooling, and solar photovoltaics for electricity.

Photo of a solar electric system in Colorado with snow-covered mountain peaks in the background.

Businesses and industry also use these technologies to diversify their energy sources, improve efficiency, and save money. Solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies are also being used by developers and utilities to produce electricity on a massive scale to power cities and small towns. Learn more about the following solar technologies:

Solar Photovoltaic Technology

These technologies convert sunlight directly into electricity to power homes and businesses.

Concentrating Solar Power

These technologies harness heat from the sun to provide electricity for large power stations.

Solar Process Heat

These technologies use solar energy to heat or cool commercial and industrial buildings.

Passive Solar Technology

From the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: these technologies harness heat from the sun to warm our homes and businesses in winter.

Solar Water Heating

From the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: these technologies harness heat from the sun to provide hot water for homes and businesses.

Additional Resources

For more information about solar energy, visit the following resources:

Solar Energy Technology Basics
U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Conversion Data
U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Sunshot Initiative
U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Photovoltaic Technology Basics
U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Concentrating Solar Power
U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Energy Kids Solar Basics
U.S. Energy Information Administration Energy Kids

Clean Energy Education and Professional Development
U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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