Solar Q&A

The Solar Q&A is a central source for the most commonly asked questions about solar energy. Our content synthesizes information from multiple sources to provide straightforward, easy to understand information that is relevant for audience members new to solar, as well as experienced policymakers, project developers and investors, and researchers and analysts.

A primer on solar energy and the US solar industry trends.

Information about medium-sized installations typically on large commercial and industrial buildings that are connected to the local distribution grid.

Solar energy projects that are owned or leased to many households or businesses receiving credit on their utility bills for the energy output.

Solar energy price and cost trends, including balance of system costs, and relative competitiveness with other energy sources.

The integration of solar and other emerging energy sources into the US electric grid, including issues related to distributed and intermittent generation, peak power, and smart grid investments.

Solar energy impacts on the environment and greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar related policies that have been or could be adopted by Congress or the Executive Branch, including federal tax incentives, agency leadership, and R&D investments.

Financing methods, models, and mechanisms for developing and installing solar projects.

US solar investments relative to the rest of the world, US solar manufacturing, and international solar trade regimes.

Information about small household installations typically mounted on a rooftop that are less than 10 kilowatts in capacity and connected to the local distribution grid.

Assessments of various solar energy technologies, including photovoltaics, solar thermal, concentrated solar power, storage, and state-of-the-art solar technologies.

Solar related policies that have been or could be adopted by state and local policy makers, including state-based incentives, solar portfolio standards, and net-metering legislation.

Issues unique to less accessible market segments, such as lower income communities that are more likely to be renters, live in multi-family units, and have difficulty financing a project.

Solar related regulations developed and enforced by FERC and state utility regulatory bodies, including electric rate structures, utility investment decision criteria, and the regulated value of solar.

Information about large-scale solar arrays typically mounted on the ground delivering electricity to high voltage transmission lines for sale to customers on a usage basis.