Solar Energy 101: What You Need to Know

As the world grapples with the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, more and more people are looking for ways to move beyond fossil fuels and explore renewable energy options. One of the most popular sustainable sources is solar energy, but what is it exactly?

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is a clean and environmentally friendly source of power that comes from the sun. Unlike traditional energy sources like fossil fuels, it does not emit harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. This energy can be harnessed in two forms: thermal energy, which is obtained from the sun’s heat, and electric energy, which is obtained from the sun’s light.

Thermal energy can be used to heat water or air, making it possible to take hot showers and keep indoor spaces warm. Electric energy, on the other hand, can power homes, businesses, and even cars.

How does solar energy work?

There are different ways to capture solar energy, but the three main methods are photovoltaics, solar heating & cooling, and concentrating solar power.


Photovoltaics is the process of generating electricity directly from sunlight using solar panels. These panels are made up of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. It can power anything from small electronic devices like calculators and road signs to homes and large commercial businesses.

Solar heating & cooling

Solar heating & cooling (SHC) systems use the heat from the sun to provide space or water heating. In this process, a solar collector absorbs the sun’s heat, which is transferred to a fluid such as water or air. The heated fluid is then circulated through a heat exchanger, where it transfers its heat to the building’s heating system or a storage tank for later use.

Solar heating systems can be used in both residential and commercial buildings to reduce the energy consumption of traditional systems.

Concentrating solar power

Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a technology that utilizes mirrors or lenses to focus sunlight onto a small area, generating intense heat that can run traditional electricity-generating turbines. CSP power plants provide reliable, grid-scale power that can power large communities. CSP technology is especially useful in areas with abundant sunlight, such as desert regions.

Although each technology has its own benefits and practical uses, when combined, they present a comprehensive solution that can fulfill our energy requirements in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner.

Understanding the cost of solar energy

The cost of solar energy has significantly reduced over the years due to advancements in solar technology. In fact, in the last decade alone, the price of installing solar panels has dropped by more than 70 percent. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years, making solar energy an increasingly cost-effective option for homeowners and businesses.

Some states and utilities also offer rebates and incentives like the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and net metering, which can help make solar energy more affordable.

Should you go solar?

Going solar can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save on energy costs in the long run. If you’re considering making the switch, keep these factors in mind to help you maximize its benefits:

Finding the Right Solar Installer for Your Home or Business

Is solar energy something you’re considering for your home or business? it’s important to research and compare options from multiple sources. This may include exploring government resources, local solar organizations, and manufacturer websites to learn more about the benefits and costs of solar panel installation. Sun Services USA is a reputable solar installer that can provide you with a quote within 1 business day.