Solar energy is energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy.
Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available.
The United States is one of the world’s richest solar energy resources.
Solar technologies can harness this energy for a variety of uses, including electricity generation
and providing lighting, and water heating for domestic, commercial or industrial use.
There are three main ways to harness solar energy:
Solar heating and cooling
and concentrating solar energy.
Photovoltaic cells generate electricity directly from sunlight via an electronic process and can be used to power anything
from small electronics like calculators and road signs to homes and large commercial businesses.
Both solar heating and cooling (SHC) and concentrated solar power (CSP) applications
use heat from the sun to save space or, in the case of SHC systems, heat water
Or to run conventional power turbines in the case of CSP power plants.
How is solar energy used
Solar energy is a very flexible energy technology:
They can be built as distributed generation (located at or near the point of use) or as a utility-scale central solar power plant (similar to conventional power plants).
Both methods can also store the energy they produce for distribution after sunset, using state-of-the-art Solar+ energy storage technologies.
Solar energy resides within a complex and interconnected electricity system in the United States, and works in tandem with other technologies
such as wind power to move the United States into a clean energy economy.
All of these applications rely on supportive policy frameworks at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure that consumers
and businesses have equitable access to clean energy technologies such as solar power.