Solar power is converting energy from the sun into thermal or electrical energy. It is the cleanest and most abundant form of renewable energy available. The U.S has some of the richest solar resources in the world. Harnessing solar power for a variety of purposes, including generating electricity, providing light or heating water for domestic, commercial and industrial use.
There are three main ways to convert the sun’s energy into electricity: photovoltaics, solar heating & cooling and concentrating solar power. Photovoltaics generate electricity directly from the sun via a process as natural as photosynthesis and can be used to power anything from small electronics like calculators and road signs up to homes and large commercial businesses. SHC systems provide heat through the sun’s light that is used to produce electricity, while CSP systems generate electricity using solar models. Both technologies have multiple applications depending on the desired outcome.
How solar is used
Solar energy is a versatile energy source that can be used in a variety of ways, depending on your needs. Some people choose to go with smaller solar panels that are located on their property, while other people get large-scale solar power plants installed. Both of these methods can also store the energy they produce for distribution after the sun sets, using new solar + storage technologies. Solar energy is a vital part of the American electricity system, and it can work side by side with other types of energy like wind to bring the U.S. one step closer to becoming a clean energy economy.
These applications depend on a supportive policy framework at the local, state and federal level to ensure that consumers have access to clean energy resources like solar.
The solar market today
The solar industry in the U.S. has grown steadily over the past decade, with an average growth rate of 33% a year. The solar market is expected to keep growing and it’s possible that in less than a decade, it could be enough to power 23 million homes. There are now more than 300,000 solar installations nationwide and hundreds more being installed each week. The power generated from these installations ranges from small roof tops to large utility-scale systems that can include 500 megawatts of clean electricity.
Want to Join Solar Energy?
Whether you’re looking to install solar in your home or office, we have plenty of resources to help you through the process. Browse our customer portal to learn more about your options, what to look for in an offer, and questions you should ask a solar company.