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Solar energy refers to technologies that convert the sun’s heat or light to another form of energy for use.


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What is Solar?

Solar energy is the most abundant, renewable energy source in the world. Solar energy systems refer to technologies that convert the sun’s heat or light to another form of energy for use1 2

There are two categories of technologies that harness solar energy, Solar Photovoltaics and Solar Thermal.

Solar Photovoltaic (or PV) is a technology that converts sunlight into direct current electricity by using semiconductors 3. In contrast, Solar Thermal is a technology that utilizes the heat energy from the sun for heating or electricity production



Solar is a renewable resource and does not emit any greenhouse gases in the energy generation process. However, the cost of solar in relation to other fuel sources is a barrier to adoption. Additionally, sunlight varies depending on geographic location, season, and time of day, which all creates limitations on its use.

Dive deeper

Recent blog posts about Solar

External resources

  1. United States Department of Energy (2013). Solar energy technology basics. 
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab (n.d.) Solar Energy Basics. 
  3. United States Department of Energy. (n.d.) Photovoltaic technology basics.
  4. United States Department of Energy (n.d.) Concentrating solar power basics