What is solar energy?
Many, if not most people, when they hear the term 'solar energy' or 'solar power', will think of 'PV' or Photo-Voltaic panels – those shiny things on
house roofs that make electricity. But PV is just one piece of the Solar Energy 'pie'. The other slice is solar 'thermal' energy – this is where we use
the sun's abundant (and free!) radiated heat to warm things up, then use that heat elsewhere – for example in a solar hot water system. Of
course, indirectly the sun provides us with wind energy too – if you're interested in this, please see www.SolarEnergyWind.com for more
The solar energy world is a complex one, and this website will help you navigate some of the most interesting areas, some of the history, current
products you can get right now, and where future research is taking us as a global community.
What solar options should I consider next?
Well, if you want to get into the whole history of solar energy, we have an extensive research area in our academic Section which should answer
most of what you want to know. For many of you, you just want to know what are the basics of solar systems, is your home is a good property for
solar power, and how much it all costs. Read on for a brief education in solar technology!
From solar powered hot water heaters, to solar assisted Air Conditioning systems, to solar attic fans and full photo-voltaic solar electric systems,
it is covered here. In addition, if you decide you want to talk with a local expert and get a no-obligation price,
click on the 'Find an Installer' link at the top of every page – they can tell you about your own local utility & government incentives, plus much more.
If you're interested in what incentives your utility company is offering to you for investing in solar products, check out DSIRE's website at:
Next you can check out how solar-appropriate your home is – does it have good sun exposure, good roof design and so on:
How Solar-Appropriate Is My Home? Click Here