Solar photovoltaic systems generate electricity using
technologies that capture the energy in sunlight. Many
parts of the United States—especially the Southwest—have
abundant solar resources (see Figure 5, which shows
estimates of the average daily total radiation for flat plate
solar collectors). Before investing, however, firms should
commission a thorough professional study of a specific
site’s solar resources. Even if it reveals lower or moderate
resources, solar power could still be financially attractive,
depending on financial incentives and regulatory context.
As with wind projects, other issues to consider
when planning a solar project include zoning and
permitting requirements, environmental impacts, grid
interconnection and net metering regulations, and the
existence of and eligibility criteria for any incentives.