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Solar Energy Companies

The solar energy market was worth an estimated 80 billion USD as of 2012, a value that is expected to roughly double in just ten years to over 120 billion USD. With that kind of money around, it shouldn’t be surprising that a number of new and existing companies are entering the solar energy market.

Solar Electric

The production of electricity is by far the most value subset of solar energy markets. Entrants into the market for electricity production can take one of two basic routes. Either they can manufacture or install equipment needed for capturing solar energy or they can run companies that manage that equipment.

On the manufacturing side of the equation, there are two approaches that can be taken. Basically a company can manufacture photovoltaic panels or a company can manufacture equipment and systems for solar thermal installations (which can be for large or small scales).

On the installation side of the equation, the options are more numerous. Some companies simply install residential solar systems. Others specialize in installing and maintaining municipal systems. Still others specialize in financing solar installations. This last group uses a number of different strategies to make installation affordable.

Solar Vehicles

Because the state of solar energy is such that vehicles are still extremely experimental, entrants into this area of solar energy are less common. Despite the drawbacks, however, there are a fair number of companies that have begun work on developing both solar cars and solar planes.

Believe it or not, solar planes have found more application than solar cars. The reason has to do with application and access to sunlight. Planes can fly above clouds and maintain enough energy using batteries, even during darkness, to stay aloft if they are light enough. Lightweight planes have found application in weather and atmospheric research.

The application for solar power on boats more closely mirrors installations used to generate electricity or hot water. There are few boats that run solely on solar energy and those that do are prototypes of experimental. Commercial applications for any type of solar vehicle are still limited, though there will likely be more solar energy produced onboard vehicles if companies like Tesla and cars like the Nissan leaf or Chevy Volt become more mainstream.

Solar Heating

Simply put, solar heating is the use of solar energy to heat water or a particular space. Companies in this segment produce solar heating solutions, install solar heating solutions, and design solar heating apparatus. This field benefits from a lack of complex design and technology needs compared to other solar industry segments.

Solar Design

The final segment of the solar industry is solar design, which refers to architectural and engineering practices applied to creating homes and other goods that utilize solar energy. The most obvious application is in building design in which dwellings and other structures are designed to maximize benefits from both passive and active solar power.
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