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Solar: General Information

Web sites with useful generic information about solar energy development.

Follow the links below to learn more about solar energy and ongoing planning efforts related to solar energy development.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducts research and development of renewable fuels and electricity and its Web site provides information about solar energy resources and technologies.

Solar Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are preparing the Solar Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate utility-scale solar energy development and develop and implement agency-specific programs that would establish environmental policies and mitigation strategies for solar energy projects. The project's public information Web site provides access to general information about solar energy technologies and potential related environmental impacts, and ultimately will provide access to the draft and final impact statements.

Solar Energy Resource Maps

DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides concentrating solar power resource maps for the southwestern United States and for the seven individual states within the region. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory also has other solar maps including photovoltaic solar radiation maps and direct normal solar radiation maps (applicable to concentrating solar power technologies). These are United States-wide maps that provide monthly average and annual average information. An atlas of solar radiation data from 1961 to 1990 is also available through NREL. This Web site allows a person to generate individual maps of average, minimum, or maximum solar radiation for a particular month or for all months and for 14 different solar collector orientations.

Renewable Energy Atlas of the West

The Renewable Energy Atlas of the West includes interactive maps of solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass resources in the western U.S.

Solar Energy Technologies Program

DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Program focuses on accelerating the advancement of solar energy technologies. The program areas addressed on the site include photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, systems integration, and market transformation.

Solar Technologies Research at Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories conducts research and development on both photovoltaic and concentrating solar power systems. Descriptions, photographs, and articles on solar and other renewable energy technology projects conducted by Sandia National Laboratories can be found on their Web site. A number of relevant publications are available, including The Solar Way, Photovoltaics on Indian Land.

Small Solar Electric Systems

DOE maintains a Web site on small-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar systems for individual buildings. The Web site provides information on how small solar systems work, things to consider in determining whether a small solar system would make sense, system components, and installation and monitoring of small solar systems.

DOE Tribal Energy Development Guide

DOE's Tribal Energy Development Guide provides a variety of information that tribes can use to achieve tribal energy goals, including a process of strategic energy planning for tribes interested in improving their energy security, sovereignty and local economy; and information on fossil and renewable energy sources, transmission and grid connection, and energy efficiency.

Tribal Energy Development Template

The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma has developed a Tribal Energy Development Primer providing information about energy development on tribal lands, including overviews of both renewable and traditional energy resources; information on infrastructure planning, guidance on assessing environmental and cultural resource issues; guidance on assessing market potential, suitable business structures, and financing options; and a discussion of developing tribal capacity and Tribal Energy Resource Agreements. Development of this document was supported by the DOI's Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development.

Arizona Solar Center

The Arizona Solar Center provides information on solar and renewable energy. The Web site includes details on the latest technologies, the economic benefits, and a list of universities and other organizations that teach concepts and applications of solar energy usage. It also contains information on Arizona legislative issues related to solar energy and federal solar initiatives.

Western Governors' Association Renewable Energy Zones

The Western Governors' Association and DOE are working to identify those areas in the Western Interconnection that have both the potential for large scale development of renewable resources and low environmental impacts. The Western Renewable Energy Zone initiative is intended to establish renewable energy development zones and support energy transmission development.

Western Regional Air Partnership Recommendations

The Western Regional Air Partnership released a study on Generating Electricity from Renewable Resources in Indian Country, providing recommendations to tribal leaders on (1) developing renewable energy technologies to meet air quality and visibility goals established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and (2) using these technologies to achieve economic development and energy-related goals.

Green Power Marketing

Information about green power marketing is provided by NREL's Green Power Network and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership.