Solar Power

We can identify 4 major technology areas: concentrating solar power; solar electricity known as photovoltaic (or PV); solar heating; and lighting. These solar energy technologies put the sun's energy to work for us in our homes, schools, businesses, factories, farms and government buildings. They are being developed because they are reliable, they have very few environmental impacts, and they make use of an abundant domestic energy resource: sunlight.

Concentrating Solar Power

These technologies, such as dish/engine systems, parabolic troughs, and central power towers, are made of reflective materials that focus or concentrate the sun's considerable heat energy. This concentrated solar energy then drives a generator to produce electricity.


This solar electric technology makes use of semiconductors to convert sunlight directly to electricity. Photovoltaic can provide a very small amount of electric power for your solar watch or calculator, or a very large amount of power for your local electric utility—and any amount in between.

Solar Heating

Solar heating technologies make use of low-temperature solar collectors that absorb the sun's heat energy, allowing that heat to be used directly for water or space heating in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.

Solar Lighting

Solar lighting technologies rely on roof-mounted solar concentrators to collect sunlight; then, they distribute that light through optical fibers to hybrid lighting fixtures in the building's interior. These fixtures are called hybrids because they combine natural light with electric light to illuminate interior spaces.


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