Links to Other Solar Websites


Solar 101 | Policy | News | International | Maps, Calculators & Tools | Education

Solar 101

Whether you're a consumer looking for some basic information or a solar technology geek looking for the latest research, there's no better place to start than the website for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Program. The program is part of the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE), which manages all DOE work in those areas. If you're brand new to the solar community, a great place to start is their page on solar energy basics.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducts much of the federal research on many aspects of solar energy with a focus on technology innovation, commercialization and deployment. NREL is one of several DOE labs, most of which conduct research on renewables including solar, as well as in various other fields. Research performed at NREL focuses on solar radiation and systems that produce useful solar electric (photovoltaic) and thermal energy.
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is one of the major solar energy organizations for individual solar advocates. ASES produces the award-winning Solar Today magazine and host a National Solar Conference every spring. They also organize an National Solar Tour, which gives solar homeowners a chance to show off their solar energy systems while educating their community on the benefits of solar power.

Solar Policy

At the national level, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) leads the efforts to create a strong solar industry to power America. As the national trade association, SEIA works with members of Congress to reduce federal market barriers to solar energy and pass national pro-solar legislation. SEIA works to educate the public on the benefits of solar energy, and co-hosts several major industry trade shows.

The Vote Solar Initiative works to promote solar energy in key markets like California, Arizona and New York. Vote Solar was founded after a successful effort to pass a ballot measure to promote the use of solar energy on public buildings in San Francisco. They continue to promote local education and action to grow solar energy in communities around the country.

The mission of is to facilitate substantive, responsible dialogue on energy policy issues, and provide this dialogue as a resource for the American people, policymakers, and the media. does not have or endorse any specific political, programmatic, policy, or technological agendas, but rather seeks to encourage a broad discussion of all points of view. empowers energy Experts representing every viewpoint from every sector – industry, academia, government, law, finance, non-profit organizations, think tanks, and more – to participate in and drive public dialogue that will sharpen distinctions, identify points of consensus, and stimulate innovative solutions in our energy policy.

The Large-Scale Solar Energy Association (LSA) promotes greater development of utility-scale solar power projects. While a typical home solar energy system may be four or five kilowatts (kW) in size, utility-scale projects are typically many thousands of kW in size. LSA works to help to develop these projects through appropriate policy mechanisms.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) provides up-to-date information on solar market barriers and incentives almost anywhere in the United States. The database is run by the North Carolina Solar Center which supports the state solar community through technical assistance and research. North Carolina State University supports and hosts the NCSC on its campus in Raleigh.

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) provides information and resources to help reduce barriers for the use of all types of renewable energy, particularly for individual consumers. They produce excellent research on a variety of technical and public policy-related issues, including as net metering, which determines how home and business owners are compensated for excess energy produced by their on-site renewable energy system.

Public utilities that want to integrate solar into their generation portfolio often work with the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). They provide information on solar technologies policies and programs to all types of businesses.

The goal of the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) is to accelerate the use of renewable energy through research and policy analysis. They use their analysis to create policy tools and host online discussions on renewable energy issues.

Solar News

Greentech Media covers every aspect of solar policy and markets on their solar channel. They also have a variety of specialized publications and reports available, including the national Solar Market Insight Report, produced by SEIA and GTM Research.

Renewable Energy World’s solar page is another resource for full coverage of solar industry and policy news and events.

Cleantech Media Group provides market intelligence and analysis in a variety of energy-related fields, including energy storage, smart grid, infrastructure and renewable energy.

Solar Buzz also provides in-depth solar market and industry research.

PV Tech is a solar industry publication based out of the UK with a focus on international solar markets.

Solar International

The International Solar Energy Society (ISES) is the major international network of solar energy professionals. Members include solar entrepreneurs, technology experts, policy analysts, academics and others.

The Solar Electric Light Fund works to fight climate change and global poverty using solar energy. Working with their partners, they have helped build solar energy systems in more than 20 countries.

Solar Energy International provides hands-on education in renewable energy technologies to students across the Americas and in Africa, Micronesia and the Caribbean. They work to educate people around the world in sustainable practices.

Lighting Africa is a joint project of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. It is designed to promote commercial off-grid lighting projects in sub-Saharan Africa. Solar energy systems can provide small business owners and families with significantly greater economic opportunities in off-grid communities.

In 1990, a group of over 200 local governments decided to form a coalition to promote best practices in sustainable development. Today, the Local Governments for Sustainable Development (ICLEI) has over 1200 members from 70 countries, collectively representing over 560 million people. (The acronym is a holdover from an earlier version of the organization.)

Solar Maps, Calculators & Tools

NREL's PVWatts Viewer allows users to view solar irradiance data and determine estimated system production and energy savings. The System Advisor Model (SAM) allows users to make performance predictions for grid-connected solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass projects.

NREL has a tool called In My Backyard (a play on NIMBY) which calculates how much electricity individuals can produce from solar and wind on their property.

The Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) models developed by NREL allow users to estimate the jobs impact of new energy projects (coal, solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, natural gas, marine).

Environmental Defense Fund’s Mapping the Green Economy tool tracks renewable energy and energy efficiency manufacturing facilities.

NRDC’s Google Earth-based website shows how to develop renewable energy in the western U.S. while preserving critical wildlife habitats.

EPA’s Renewable Energy Interactive Mapping Tool uses Google Earth to display information about developing clean energy power plants on contaminated lands and former mine sites.

Solar Education

The National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) supports energy education in the nation’s classrooms.

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) works with educators to engage students of all types to build a solar energy future.