There are a number of different solar technologies, including passive and active solar space heating/cooling, solar water heating, concentrating solar power, and solar photovoltaic technologies.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has a webpage dedicated to learning about solar technologies, including solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar, and solar process heat.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy also offers solar energy technology basics.
Solar Photovoltaic Technology
The video below provides a basic overview of solar photovoltaic technology:
Solar Advising Services
The SmartSolar Program is a nonprofit service offering free advice and guidance to Bay Area residential and commercial property owners interested in installing solar.
The SmartSolar Marketplace will provide you with instant online quotes from multiple, pre-screened installers and allow you to compare offers in an apples-to-apples way.
Solar Financing Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing
CaliforniaFIRST PACE financing is available to Fremont residents and businesses for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water efficiency improvements to their properties. CaliforniaFIRST allows property owners to receive upfront funding for approved upgrade projects and to repay those loans through their property taxes. Learn more here.
Solar Incentive Programs
Go Solar California
The Go Solar California! campaign is a joint effort of the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission. The goal is to encourage Californians to install 3,000 megawatts of solar energy systems on homes and businesses by the end of 2016, making renewable energy an everyday reality. The program also has a goal to install 585 million therms of gas-displacing solar hot water systems by the end of 2017.
California Solar Initiative (CSI)-Thermal Program: The CSI-Thermal Program offers cash rebates of up to $2,719 for solar water heating systems on single-family homes.
Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) is a comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is currently operated by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University, with support from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. DSIRE is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Here you can learn about the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit and the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit of 30% for solar photovoltaic and solar thermal systems, wind turbines, and fuel cells, which are set to expire on December 31, 2016.
California Solar Statistics
California Solar Statistics: View information on the total number of solar PV systems installed under the CSI program from 2007 to present by utility, county, city, zip code, customer type, and installation size.
The Open PV Project
The Open PV Project, sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is a collaborative effort between government, industry, and the public that is compiling a comprehensive database of photovoltaic (PV) installation data for the United States.