What Is Solar Energy?

solar-energy Credit: Colin Anderson/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

According to the Environment Protection Agency, solar energy is defined as energy derived from the sun's radiation. Solar energy sustains life on earth. It is also becoming increasingly common that this energy is converted and used as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Solar energy can be harnessed using a range of technologies such as solar photovoltaic, solar heaters and solar thermal electricity. It is considered an environmentally friendly source of energy because it comes directly from the sun; it does not involve the burning of fossil fuels. The primary limitation of solar energy is that it is not always available, and methods of storage and stop-gap are required for when it is cloudy or raining outside.