What is Solar Energy?
Solar Energy is energy radiated from the sun, mainly in the form of heat and light. It is required for photosynthesis and is also harnessed as a renewable energy source, e.g. in photovoltaics (PV) to provide electricity or as solar thermal energy for heating and cooling systems. Solar energy can be used in homes, businesses, and industry as well as in distributed generation applications, such as street lighting or for back-up electicity generation. On a bright, sunny day, the sun provides approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter of the planet’s surface, and if we could collect all of that energy we could easily power our homes and offices for free.
For basic information about solar energy technologies, please see the DOE EERE Solar Frequenly Asked Questions web page.