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.