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September 5, 2013
New Study Shows Solar Manufacturing Costs Not Driven Primarily by Labor

Production scale, not lower labor costs, drives China's current advantage in manufacturing photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems, according to a new report released today by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

August 21, 2013
Solar Classroom Update: Making Clean Energy Upgrades a Back-to-School Priority

From solar installations to air sealing, a guide to investing in clean energy upgrades for schools.

August 21, 2013
Solar Energy Resource Basics

Solar radiation, often called the solar resource, is a general term for the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun. Solar radiation can be captured and turned into useful forms of energy, such as heat and electricity, using a variety of technologies.

August 20, 2013
Concentrating Solar Power Tower System Basics

In power tower concentrating solar power systems, numerous large, flat, sun-tracking mirrors, known as heliostats, focus sunlight onto a receiver at the top of a tall tower. A heat-transfer fluid heated in the receiver is used to generate steam, which, in turn, is used in a conventional turbine generator to produce electricity.

August 20, 2013
Concentrating Solar Power Dish/Engine System Basics

The dish/engine system is a concentrating solar power (CSP) technology that produces relatively small amounts of electricity compared to other CSP technologies—typically in the range of 3 to 25 kilowatts. Dish/engine systems use a parabolic dish of mirrors to direct and concentrate sunlight onto a central engine that produces electricity.

August 20, 2013
Concentrating Solar Power Basics

Concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect solar energy and convert it to heat. This thermal energy can then be used to produce electricity via a steam turbine or heat engine that drives a generator.

August 20, 2013
Flat-Plate Photovoltaic Module Basics

Flat-plate photovoltaic (PV) modules are made of several components, including the front surface materials, encapsulant, rear surface, and frame.

August 20, 2013
Photovoltaic System Performance Basics

Photovoltaic (PV) systems are usually composed of numerous solar arrays, which in turn, are composed of numerous PV cells. The performance of the system is therefore dependent on the performance of its components.

August 20, 2013
Concentrator Photovoltaic System Basics

Concentrator photovoltaic (PV) systems use less solar cell material than other PV systems. PV cells are the most expensive components of a PV system, on a per-area basis. A concentrator makes use of relatively inexpensive materials such as plastic lenses and metal housings to capture the solar energy shining on a fairly large area and focus that energy onto a smaller area—the solar cell.

August 20, 2013
Flat-Plate Photovoltaic System Basics

The most common photovoltaic (PV) array design uses flat-plate PV modules or panels. These panels can be fixed in place or allowed to track the movement of the sun.