Flip the switch. Plug it in. Americans rely on a constant supply of electricity. Where does all that power come from? Burning fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—has been the most common way to generate electricity. But that releases greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. Although no energy source is perfect, using renewable sources including solar energy is becoming an important option.
Humans have used the sun’s light and heat for millennia but only recently learned how to convert solar energy to electricity. Researchers today are tackling technical and economic challenges to make solar power more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective. And people across the country—from the board room to the dining room—are deciding to “go solar.”