Solar Commonwealth

Solar 101: Everything you need to know about how solar technology works

Solar Resources

map of solar centric organizations in Pennsylvania

Solar Installer Map

Interactive map of solar installation companies in Pennsylvania.

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Solar Policy & Advocacy

Why PA needs it, what we're doing to get us there, and how you can help.

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Lodestar Award

The Lodestar Award

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The sun provides the most powerful and abundant resource on the Earth. Solar energy is the cleanest and fastest growing energy source in the United States and across the globe. Modern technology can utilize this energy to generate electricity, provide light, heat water and much more. As solar technology keeps improving, the ability to harness this potential also increases and the cost continues to drop.

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Solar Power: The most abundant source of energy on Earth

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Solar energy is radiant light and heat emitted by the sun that can be harnessed using solar technology. Some of its energy is reflected back into space, but about 70 percent is absorbed by the atmosphere, clouds, oceans, land, plants and other surfaces. Solar energy has the highest energy potential of all known energy resources and is the most abundant renewable resource on Earth.

Solar Makes Sense

  • Does not emit any pollution into the atmosphere which helps slow global warming
  • Light from the Sun in free and cannot be taxed or taken away, therefore it has high energy security
  • It is reliable that the Sun will rise the next day
  • As an growing market, more jobs are being made everyday
  • Works anywhere with available sunlight
  • Does not require any permits to install or obtain solar technologies
  • Technology is only getting better and becoming more common/available

How Does Solar Technology Harness Energy from the Sun?

Photovoltaic (PV) cells transfer light energy into electrical energy. The metallic atoms in the cells absorb the light energy, excite the electrons to the positive electrode, thus creating electric Direct Current (DC). This current is then sent to an inverter that converts the electricity to Alternating Current (AC) so that we can use the energy in our homes and businesses. Watch this U.S. Department of Energy video that explains how solar PV technology works.

US Department of Energy Solar 101