Companies in this industry operate solar electric power generation facilities. Major companies include diversified electric utilities and independent producers Berkshire Hathaway Energy, NextEra Energy, Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, SunEdison, and TerraForm Power (all based in the US); as well as CECEP (China), Enerparc (Germany), Lightsource Renewable Energy (UK), and Panda Green Energy (Hong Kong).
As with other power sources, demand for solar power is driven by residential, commercial, and industrial electricity demand, which increases with population and economic growth. Additionally, growing concern over environmental and geopolitical issues surrounding fossil fuels has boosted interest in renewable energy sources such as solar.
Products, Operations & Technology
Solar producers use two technologies to convert energy from the sun into electricity: photovoltaic (PV) power and concentrated solar power (CSP). PV accounts for about 95% of US solar energy capacity, CSP for about 5%. PV cells convert solar energy directly into electricity, while CSP devices concentrate energy from the sun's rays to heat a receiver to high temperatures. This heat is transformed first into mechanical energy (by turbines or other engines) and then into electricity.