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Solar Energy Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Solar Energy Development PEIS Links

Use the links on this page to access resources related to the Solar Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), including solar energy and electric transmission information.

The Web sites listed below provide valuable information relating to the Solar Energy Development PEIS. Clink a link category from the list below to view links to solar and electric transmission organizations and resources.

Agency Links

Department of Energy (DOE) and National Laboratories

DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

EERE leads the Federal government's research, development, and deployment efforts in energy efficiency. EERE's role is to invest in high-risk, high-value research and development that is critical to the Nation's energy future and would not be sufficiently conducted by the private sector acting on its own.

DOE's SunShot Initiative

DOE's SunShot Initiative focuses on developing cost-effective solar-energy technologies that have the greatest potential to benefit our nation and the world. The SunShot Initiative website provides overviews of concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, and several other solar energy topics.

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration (EIA)

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is a statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. EIA provides policy-independent data, forecasts, and analyses to promote policy making, efficient markets, and public understanding regarding energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment. The EIA website has a glossary of energy-related terms and many other useful reference materials.

Other EIA resources include:
EIA Solar Thermal Power Plants Web page

EIA Solar Thermal Collectors Web page

EIA Solar Photovoltaic Web page

EIA Energy Kids Solar Web page

National Renewable Energy Laboratory "Solar Energy Basics"

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development (R&D). The Solar Energy Basics site provides overviews of concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, and several other solar energy topics.

NREL Solar Research

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development (R&D). The laboratory's scientists and researchers support critical market objectives to accelerate research from scientific innovations to market-viable alternative energy solutions.

NREL National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB) Viewer

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed an interactive mapping tool, called the National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB) Viewer, that allows users to examine, distribute, and analyze solar resource data for the United States and northern Mexico. It assists in making decisions about optimal locations for CSP plants. Users can explore temporal and spatial aspects of NREL's solar resource data and can download the resource data for use outside of the tool.

Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center

Argonne National Laboratory has partnered with Northwestern University and other world-class research universities to form the ANSER Center. The long-term vision of this center is to develop the fundamental understanding, materials and methods necessary to create dramatically more efficient technologies for solar fuels and electricity production.

Sandia National Laboratories Photovoltaic Systems Research and Development

Sandia National Laboratories works with the U.S. photovoltaic industry, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, other government agencies, and international organizations to increase the world-wide use of photovoltaic power systems by reducing cost, improving reliability, increasing performance, removing barriers, and growing markets. Site includes photo database.

Photovoltaic Environmental Research Assistance Center at Brookhaven National Laboratory

This website provides information and guidance for the photovoltaic community and interested public based on work funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Solar Technologies Program. This center has been established at Brookhaven National Laboratory to provide focused environmental health safety information to the photovoltaic community.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages 261 million surface acres and 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate—more land than any other federal agency, most being in the Western states, including Alaska. The BLM sustains the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

BLM Solar Energy page

The BLM solar energy page discusses BLM projects and initiatives related to solar energy development on BLM-administered lands.

Cooperating Agencies

California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state of California's primary energy policy and planning agency.

California Public Utilities Commission

The California Public Utilities Commission regulates privately owned telecommunications, electric, natural gas, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies, in addition to authorizing video franchises in California.

California Department of Fish and Game

The California Department of Fish and Game maintains native fish, wildlife, plant species and natural communities for their intrinsic and ecological value and their benefits to the people of California. This includes habitat protection and maintenance in a sufficient amount and quality to ensure the survival of all species and natural communities.

U.S. and International Solar Organizations and Industry Groups

International Solar Energy Society (ISES)

ISES has been serving the needs of the renewable energy community since its founding in 1954. A UN-accredited NGO present in more than 50 countries, the Society supports its members in the advancement of renewable energy technology, implementation and education all over the world.


SolarPACES is an international cooperative organization bringing together teams of national experts from around the world to focus on the development and marketing of concentrating solar power systems (also known as solar thermal power systems). It is one of a number of collaborative programs managed under the umbrella of the International Energy Agency to help find solutions to worldwide energy problems.

American Solar Energy Society (ASES)

ASES is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the use of solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies in the U.S.

Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA)

SEPA facilitates the use and integration of solar electric power by utilities, electric service providers, and their customers. SEPA provides tools to utilities and electric service providers supporting the use and integration of solar; fosters business-to-business networking; shares information on solar electric technologies, applications, and programs; and evaluates and reports on policies, regulations, and legislation.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

SEIA is the national trade association of solar energy manufacturers, dealers, distributors, contractors, installers, architects, consultants, and marketers. SEIA works to expand the use of solar technologies in the global marketplace.

Other Solar Resources

Renewable Energy Atlas

Utilizing state-of-the-art GIS technology, the Atlas brings together the best existing renewable resource maps and data into a single comprehensive, publicly available document and interactive Web site. It does not provide a new regional assessment of renewable resources, but rather shows the current understanding of these resources throughout the West and highlights the issues affecting their development.

Electric Transmission and Other Resources

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

FERC regulates and oversees energy industries in the economic, environmental, and safety interests of the American public. FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydropower projects.

Western Area Power Administration (WAPA)

Western Area Power Administration markets and delivers cost-based hydroelectric power and related services within a 15-state region of the central and western U.S.

Western Governors' Association

The Western Governors' Association is an independent, nonprofit organization representing the governors of 18 states and three U.S.-Flag islands in the Pacific. Through their Association, the Western governors identify and address key policy and governance issues in natural resources, the environment, human services, economic development, international relations and public management.

Western Interstate Energy Board

The Western Interstate Energy Board is an organization of 12 western states and three western Canadian provinces, which are associate members of the Board. The governor of each state appoints a member to the Board. The Board seeks to achieve this purpose through cooperative efforts among member states/provinces and with the federal government in the energy field. The Board serves as the energy arm of the Western Governors' Association.

Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC)

WECC is responsible for coordinating and promoting electric system reliability among the participating electric power systems engaged in bulk power generation and/or transmission serving all or part of the 14 Western States and British Columbia, Canada. WECC's homepage contains links to a variety of energy-related sites.

North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC)

NERC's mission is to ensure that the bulk electric system in North America is reliable, adequate and secure. Since its formation in 1968, NERC has operated successfully as a self-regulatory organization, relying on reciprocity, peer pressure and the mutual self-interest of all those involved.

Southwest Area Transmission

Southwest Area Transmission (SWAT) is comprised of transmission regulators/governmental entities, transmission users, transmission owners, transmission operators and environmental entities. The goal of SWAT is to promote regional planning in the Desert Southwest. The site features links to several other energy resources.

Southwest Transmission Expansion Plan (STEP)

STEP's primary mission is to coordinate transmission expansion plans in the STEP area.

Rocky Mountain Area Transmission Study

The goal of the Rocky Mountain Area Transmission Study is to identify in an open and public process, the most critical electric transmission and generation project needs in the Rocky Mountain sub region, and with broad stakeholder involvement provide a framework for regional collaboration to improve the Western interconnection with technical, financial and environmentally viable projects identified for developmental consideration.