Solar energy is the cleanest, most abundant renewable energy source available. The U.S. has some of the world’s richest solar resources. Today’s technology allows us to harness this resource in several ways, giving the public and commercial entities flexible ways to employ both the light and heat of the sun.
There are three primary technologies by which solar energy is commonly harnessed: photovoltaics (PV), which directly convert light to electricity; concentrating solar power (CSP), which uses heat from the sun (thermal energy) to drive utility-scale, electric turbines; and heating and cooling systems, which collect thermal energy to provide hot water and air conditioning.
Solar energy can be deployed through distributed generation (DG). whereby the equipment is located on rooftops or ground-mounted arrays close to where the energy is used. Some solar technologies can also be built at utility-scale to produce energy as a central power plant.
Learn more about the three major types of solar technology below.
These solar technologies directly produce electricity which can be used, stored, or converted for long-distance transmission. PV panels can be manufactured using a variety of materials and processes and are widely-used for solar projects around the world.
These technologies generate thermal (heat) energy for water pool heating and space heating. Some people are surprised to learn that SHC technology can also be used for cooling. Solar heating technologies are cost-effective for customers in a variety of climates.
Using reflective materials like mirrors and lenses, these systems concentrate sunlight to generate thermal energy, which is in turn used to generate electricity. Similar to traditional power plants, many CSP plants are hundreds of megawatts (MW) in size and some can continue to provide power after sunset.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Saying it will help to create jobs and expand the use of clean, renewable energy in Massachusetts, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), along with its Solar Heating and Cooling Alliance (SHC), are urging the State Senate to adopt S. 1970, allowing renewable thermal technologies to qualify for the Alternative Portfolio Standard and provide a credit that incentivizes renewable thermal technologies.
Friday, February 14, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC – In response to Thursday’s announcement of the 20 collegiate teams selected to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015. Tom Kimbis, vice president of executive affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, released the following statement:
September 10, 2017 (All day) to September 13, 2017 (All day)
Solar Power International (SPI) generates success for solar energy professionals and the global solar industry. SPI sets the standard for solar events as the fastest growing and largest solar show in North America as recognized by Trade Show Executive and Trade Show News Network. SPI has also been among the Gold 100 for seven years running and named “Stickiest Show Floor” by Trade Show Executive for the innovative ways in which attendees stay engaged.
October 19, 2017 (All day) to October 20, 2017 (All day)
Solar Power Midwest is back in the Windy City. Join 500+ solar professionals and gain insight on the latest trends and challenges impacting the Midwest. The event offers attendees the opportunity to make powerful connections with leading companies and peers from this growing solar market.
December 11, 2017 (All day) to December 12, 2017 (All day)
If you’re looking to do business in New York, this is your event. Solar Power New York, the premier event for solar professionals in the Empire State, will feature a robust schedule of topics highlighting solar policy updates, regional trends, along with opportunities to network with other companies from this top-10 solar market.