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According to research by the American Solar Energy Society, as many as 1 out of 4 workers in the United States will be working in the renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) industries by 2030.
Buying Solar: see tax incentives, calculators, maps in data, and reports below...
U.S. Dept of Energy. Solar Energy Technologies Program. Information for the consumer.
The Source for Renewable Energy. A comprehensive buyers guide and business directory of more than 12,000 renewable energy businesses and organizations worldwide. Locate renewable energy businesses by geographic location, by product type, by business type and by name, or search using keywords.
Solar Estimate's mission is to serve as a user-friendly means for home and small commercial building owners to make preliminary evaluations of solar energy options and to help find qualified professionals who can design, install and service solar energy systems.
Find Solar- estimate costs and output of solar systems for hot water, electricity, and pool or spa heating. A few installers listed as well.
Solar Energy Industries Association. Member Directory. Every sector of the solar energy industry and every type of business from multi-national manufacturers to local installers. All SEIA members have agreed to adhere to SEIA's Code of Ethics.
Buying Solar- Reports:
"The Value and Cost of Solar Electricity" U.S. Dept of Energy. One page- Quick Cost Estimator. PDF.
"Get your (electric) Power from the Sun" National Renewable Energy Laboratory, A Consumer’s Guide: 2003. PDF.
"Heat your water with the Sun" Solar Thermal. National Renewable Energy Laboratory,  Dec 2003. PDF.
Solar Today magazine published by the American Solar Energy Society. Digital Edition.
A Home builder's Guide to Going Solar. Dept of Energy. Helps builders assess the benefits of installing solar equipment or making houses "solar ready" to both their businesses and customers. PDF.
"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!
I hope we don't have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
Thomas Edison
National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Seven Solar Resource Models and Tools.
RoofRay. Draw Solar Array and Calculate your roof's solar potential, Check a house before you buy, Add your RoofRay to the community, See other RoofRays in your neighborhood, Compare various array sizes, Input your usage and get real-time costs & ROI.  ***
Concentrated Solar Power: Link to Page...
Data (maps, graphics, statistics, etc...):
National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  Renewable Resource Data Center.  Page links to many data sources. ***
Power Technologies Energy Data Book of the US Dept of Energy National Renewable Energy Lab.
Solar Photovoltaic Data. Energy Information Administration. Annual Photovoltaic Domestic Shipments, 1997-2006. Latest Data on Photovoltaic Cells and Modules.
Solar Photovoltaic Resource Potential (Map of US).
Energy Information Administration.
IEEE Spectrum magazine. Article with graphics shows solar payback times throughout the globe.
SolTrex data servers and website offer fully-integrated PV system monitoring services that allow everyone - from homeowners to schools to commercial solar station owners - to track performance of their PV systems and share performance data with others.
PVWATTS calculates electrical energy produced by a grid-connected photovoltaic system. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed PVWATTS to permit non-experts to quickly obtain performance estimates for grid-connected PV systems within the United States and its territories.
On average every square yard of land exposed to direct sunlight in the U.S. receives about 5 kilowatt-hours of solar energy per day. That is over twice as much energy as the average U.S. home consumes in a single day.
Build it Solar. Plans, tools and information for DIY renewable energy and conservation projects. Hundreds of projects -- from changing a light bulb to building a solar home. *** is a renewable energy project kit that can be downloaded and printed from the web. Build Your Own solar oven plans. Their solar car plans are being redesigned.
How to make a solar water heater from plastic bottles. The Ecologist. Retired mechanic Jose Alano invented a simple, cheap, energy saving rooftop solar water heater which is benefiting thousands of people. Here's how it's done...
Solar photovoltaic prices have declined an average 4% per annum over the past 15 years.
Education: see video page as well
U.S. Department of Energy- Solar Energy Technologies Program. PV section explains the how's and why's of Photovoltaics.
U.S. Department of Energy- Solar Energy Technologies Program. Explanation of Concentrated solar power.
Solar Living Institute in Hopland, CA, is a non-profit educational organization that promotes sustainable living through inspirational environmental education. Takes interns.
Solar Energy International (SEI) is a USA non-profit organization whose mission is to help others use renewable energy and environmental building technologies through education.
Home Power Magazine. Some of their worthwhile solar articles are free to view without membership.
How Stuff Works.  Good explanation of 'How Solar Cells Work'   Videos, graphs and text.
To estimate your home's PV power needs:
Add up your kWh over a one year time period, then divide by 365 to get a daily average;
then, divide that number by the average daily sun hours (it is 5 hours a day for mid-latitude states) for your location. ''Example: 3600 kWh/yr divided by 365 days/yr equals approximately 10 kWh/day, divided by 5 sun-hours per day (for locations in Middle America), and equals 2 kW.''
News of Interest / New tech:
MIT's Daniel Nocera uses daytime solar energy to split water to hydrogen and oxygen which are recombined at night to power a fuel cell. MIT TechTV.
Self-Assembling Solar Cells. The new technique draws from the fact that oil and water don’t mix. Another unique fact forces the elements of electronic components for example solar cells to assemble themselves at the boundaries between the two types of liquids. This work was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The technology can be utilized for the highly efficient solar cells that can be built quickly and cheaply on various materials. University of Minnesota.
Photon Magazine. Researchers at the Freiburg, Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in late September reported a new European record for the sunlight conversion efficiency of a solar cell at 39.7 percent. October, 2008.
Scientific American.  A Solar Grand Plan
By 2050 solar power could end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions.
MIT Research May Bring Down Cost of Solar Energy July 16,2008. The work involves the creation of a novel "solar concentrator...Light is collected over a large area [like a window] and gathered, or concentrated, at the edges..."
IEEE Spectrum "First Solar: Quest for the $1 Watt" Aug 2008.
Toyota solar roof- 13.54 acres. "North America's largest single-roof solar power installation became operational in October at Toyota's North America Parts Center California. Its 10,494 solar modules cover more than 590,000 square feet (13.54 acres) of the roof and provide nearly 60 percent of the electricity for the 760,000-square-foot facility. With a total capacity of 2.3 megawatts, the solar roof can generate 3.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually."
News Sites:
Photon International-the Photovoltaic Magazine-  in-depth coverage of the photovoltaic industry, from technology and markets to government programs around the world.
Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development is a US-based non-profit focusing on collecting and disseminating information on solar technology.
PV News.
Solarbuzz PV World News  Follow Global Solar Market and Supply Developments, Access Solarbuzz Research and Consultancy Services, or Connect to Solar Energy Companies Worldwide. Publishes a weekly newsletter.
EcoGeek's Solar News Page.
Renewable Energy World- Solar energy content for this section is provided in part by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Department of Energy.
Global Solar Technology is published by Trafalgar Publications Ltd., UK. Solar manufacturing and tech news. Digital magazine subscription is free.
Alternative Energy News & Info. Solar Energy Technologies Page.
Solar Energy News and Review. Blog- Maintained Daily.
Popular Science  Solar News Stories.
ScienceDaily- top science news stories from the world's leading universities and research organizations. Solar news.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Technology Review.
Solar Today magazine published by the American Solar Energy Society. Digital Edition.
EnergyCurrent News.  Solar Business News.
A study done by Brookhaven Lab states that
'replacing electrical power from the grid with electricity generated by solar cells
results in at least an 89 percent reduction in greenhouse gases and pollutants'.
That takes into consideration the mining and purification of the raw materials and the manufacture of product.
Organizations International:
International Solar Energy Society, a non-profit global NGO. Information, events, publications.
International Energy Agency, Solar Heating and Cooling Programme was established in 1977. An International collaboration for research, development and demonstration of new energy technologies. Many Publications.*
Solar Energy International, a non-profit provides education and training to decision makers, technicians and users of renewable energy sources. SEI also provides the expertise to plan, engineer and implement sustainable development projects.*
European Photovoltaic Industry Association is the world's largest industry association devoted to the solar electricity market. The association aims to promote photovoltaics at the national, European and worldwide levels and to assist its members in the development of their businesses in both the European Union and in export markets."
Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme is a collaborative R&D Agreement, established within the International Energy Agency, and conducting projects on the application of solar photovoltaic electricity. IEA PVPS operates worldwide via a network of national teams in member countries.
Organizations U.S.- Government: also see Research below
U.S. Department of Energy- Solar Energy Technologies Program.
Solar America Initiative is a U.S. Dept of Energy effort to accelerate the development of advanced solar energy technologies. The goal is to make solar electricity from photovoltaics cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity from the utility grid by 2015.
Solar America Cities partnership- works to accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies. Partners include the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), national laboratories, 25 cities across the United States, and a variety of municipal, county, and state agencies, universities, solar companies, utilities, developers, and non- profit organizations. These partners have made a commitment to power their municipalities with clean, safe, reliable energy—solar energy.
DOE's Million Solar Roofs Initiative, announced in June 1997, assists businesses and communities in installing solar energy systems on one million buildings across the United States by 2010. See update in reports. PDF.
Organizations U.S.- Non Government:
American Solar Energy Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the use of solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies in the U.S.
Solar Electric Power Association is a nonprofit membership organization providing products, services, and strategies... fosters business to business networking; shares information on solar electric technologies, applications, programs, and business solutions; and reports on and evaluates policies, regulations, and legislation.
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) national trade association for the solar energy industry. Works to expand markets, strengthen research and development, remove market barriers and improve education and outreach for solar energy professionals. Located in Washington, D.C., SEIA was founded in 1974.
Interstate Renewable Energy Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to moving renewable energy resources into the marketplace. Emphasizes education and outreach, stakeholder coordination, technical assistance, workforce development, the adoption and implementation of uniform guidelines and standards, consumer protection and building networks to share experiences and information.
Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development is a US-based non-profit focusing on collecting and disseminating information on all types of technology and processes used in promoting global economic, industrial, and societal sustainable development.
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners includes representatives of the solar industry. NABCEP's mission- to support, and work with, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, professionals, and stakeholders is intended to develop and implement quality credentialing and certification programs for practitioners.
Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) was incorporated as a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is the development and implementation of certification programs and national rating standards for solar energy equipment. Specific information on the collectors and systems certified under the various SRCC certification and rating programs.
Green Building Initiative- a non profit whose mission is to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in energy-efficient, healthier and environmentally sustainable buildings by promoting credible and practical green building approaches for residential and commercial construction.
"Unlike a solid body such as Earth that rotates at the same rate at all latitudes,
the outer layer of the Sun, called the convection zone, has a differential rotation
that ranges from 25 days at the equator to about 35 days at the poles."
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Reports: benefits | consumer | data | economic | plans | solar thermal
Benefits of Solar:
'The Time for Solar is Now.' International Energy Agency, The Solar Heating and Cooling Programme 2007 paper. PDF.
"A Solar Grand Plan" Scientific American.  
By 2050 solar power could end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, A Consumer’s Guide: "Get your Power from the Sun" Dec 2003. PDF.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory  "Heat your water with the Sun" Solar Thermal. Dec 2003. PDF.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Solar publications page, numerous technical reports. Solar resource tools and data.
2006 Solar Heat Worldwide. Markets and Contribution to the Energy Supply. International Energy Agency, The Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. PDF.
Photon Consulting.  Publishes Solar Reports. Fees.      
Solar Power in Focus: Detailing Demand: Where Will All the Volume Go? and Solar Annual 2007.
Sandia National Lab and NREL partnership.
Documents, CSP Program SnapShots (Fact Sheets), Technology Characterizations  and more.
Million Solar Roofs Initiative. DOE and National Renewable Energy Laboratory's. Final Report, October 2006. PDF.
Utility Solar Assessment (USA) Study, produced by Clean Edge and Co-op America, provides a comprehensive roadmap for utilities, solar companies, and regulators to reach 10% solar in the U.S. by 2025.
"A Solar Grand Plan" Scientific American.  
By 2050 solar power could end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar Thermal Reports: see Concentrated Solar page...
In 2007, the U.S. spent 75 billion on military R&D, and 1 billion on all energy R&D.
Research and Development- Photovoltaic:
National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV) focuses on innovations in PV technology. Under the DOE- the Center collaborates NREL and Sandia, and other National research centers uniting diverse research initiatives into a single coordinated effort.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory Photovoltaic (PV) focuses on research, advanced materials and devices, and technology development.
Solar America Initiative is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) effort to make solar electricity from photovoltaics cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity from the utility grid by 2015. The goals are to reduce costs through R&D and to eliminate market barriers through deployment.
Sandia National Lab's Photovoltaic Systems Program
collaboratively works with the U.S. photovoltaic industry, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, other government agencies, and international organizations to increase the world-wide use of photovoltaic power systems by reducing cost, improving reliability, increasing performance, removing barriers, and growing markets.
Technology Research News is an independent publisher and news service dedicated to covering technology research developments in university, corporate and government labs.
Brookhaven National Laboratory.  Photovoltaic Environmental Research Assistance Center.
Stanford University: Global Climate and Energy Project. Solar Energy Research.
University of Central Florida's Solar Energy Center was created by the Florida Legislature in 1975 to serve as the state’s energy research institute. The main responsibilities of the center are to conduct research, test and certify solar systems and develop education programs.
Institute of Energy Conversion at the University of Delaware- research covers the areas of copper indium diselenide and related alloys, cadmium telluride and silicon solar cells.
University of New South Wales. School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering. A large part of the research is conducted under the ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence which was established by the Australian Research Council. Their PV design registers over 25% efficiency.
"Realization of a near-perfect antireflection coating for silicon solar energy utilization" Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have  developed a new antireflective coating that harnesses 96.21 percent of solar energy at all angles. Optics Letters.
China installed 75% of the world's new solar hot water capacity in 2006.
The U.S. installed about 0.4% of that capacity.
Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies.
Renewables 2007 Global Status Report: Market, Policy, and Investment Trends.
Interstate Renewable Energy Council. Schools Going Solar News, subscribe to RSS feed.
DOE's Solar Decathlon 2011 will be held beginning in late September at the National Mall's West Potomac Park. The competition—featuring 20 highly efficient solar homes designed and built by college students from around the globe—will be staged on the peninsula just south of the new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial between the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Potomac River. The event is being moved from its previous location on the Mall between the Washington Monument and the Capitol to balance demands on the Mall.
Solar for Pools:
Heliocool. The World's Largest Solar Pool Heating Company. Based in Florida.
Solar Sails:
Solar Sailor, an Australian Company, builds integrated hybrid electric technology ships with Solarsails that catch the wind and charge the batteries.
Solar Thermal- (Concentrated Solar Power) Link to Page...
CalTech-MIT. Phase I CBC brings together a diverse group of chemists to address one of the outstanding “holy-grails” of science in the 21st century – the efficient, and ultimately economical, storage of solar energy in the form of chemical bonds."
Global production of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells increased 51 percent in 2007, to 3,733 megawatts,
according to the latest Vital Signs Update from the Worldwatch Institute.
Tax Incentives:
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.   DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP) is sponsored by a coalition of public interest nonprofit groups, government agencies, and other organizations in the energy efficiency field.  It is designed to give consumers and businesses information they need to make use of the federal income tax incentives for energy efficient products and technologies passed by Congress as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Solar Energy Industries Association.  "Guide to Federal Tax Incentives for Solar Energy." PDF file.
10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2008- 110th Congress. To increase the quantity of solar photovoltaic electricity by providing rebates for the purchase and installation of
an additional 10,000,000 photovoltaic systems by 2018. PDF.
Thin Film:
Thin Film Today. Focused news, events, reports, updates and information for the Thin Film industry. England. Sponsor of the Thin Film Solar Summit Europe.

Photovoltaic Production for Domestic Shipments:

2004 78,346
2005 134,465
2006 206,511
Source: Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-63B, "Annual Photovoltaic Module/Cell Manufacturers Survey."
Electricity Generating Capacity Source:

Installed Capacity
in Gigawatts

Projected Capacity
in Gigawatts
Electricity and Heat generation
Electricity and Heat Generation
Rooftop Solar Electric Systrems 9 1090 61 7734
Solar Electric Power Plants 0 100 1 710
Solar Thermal Power Plants 0 200 4 1539
Thermal Energy Capacity:        
Solar Rooftop Water and Space Heaters: 100 1100 710 7805
Earth Policy Institute using Worldwatch Institute, International Energy Agency, Solar heating and Cooling Program data.
"The fastest growing energy technology in the world is grid-connected solar photovoltaics (PV),
with 50 percent annual increases in cumulative installed capacity in both 2006 and 2007, to an estimated 7.7 GW. This translates into 1.5 million homes with rooftop solar PV feeding into the grid worldwide. Another estimated 2.7 GW of stand-alone systems brings global PV capacity to over 10 GW."
Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century



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