About Solar Energy

Solar power harnesses the natural energy of the sun to produce electricity. The most common method is to use solar photovoltaic cells to capture certain wavelengths of solar radiation and convert them to electricity. Another way to produce electricity from solar energy is to use reflectors to collect and concentrate sunlight onto a heat-transfer fluid which is used to produce steam. The steam is then converted into mechanical energy using a turbine, in such the same way that many conventional power plants have done for decades.

In the U.S., our greatest solar resources are in the western half of the country, but solar energy is proliferating throughout the nation and the world. While solar energy produces only about 2% of the electricity consumed in the U.S., solar has ranked either first or second in terms of new electric generation capacity additions with the U.S. in each of the last five years. In terms of consumer preference, almost all polls asking the general public about their support for various types of electric generation indicate that solar energy is the preferred resource, followed closely by wind energy.

Common Question

Isn’t solar energy very expensive?

The cost of solar photovoltaic modules has dropped by about 80% over the past decade and is expected to keep falling due to technological advances and manufacturing economics of scale. While California leads the U.S. in solar generation capacity, several utilities in Texas are now purchasing solar energy from large solar arrays recently constructed within the state.