|Sklar, ‘7 founder and president of The Stella Group, Ltd., in Washington, DC, is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Boards of Directors of the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and the Renewable Energy Policy Project. The Stella Group, Ltd., a strategic marketing and policy firm for clean distributed energy users and companies using renewable energy (Scott Sklar, 23 October 2007, “What’s the Difference Between Solar Energy and Solar Power?” http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2007/10/whats-the-difference-between-solar-energy-and-solar-power-50358)//CC
Lee, this is a question I get often, and believe it is worth addressing. Solar "power" usually means converting the sun's rays (photons) to electricity. The solar technologies could be photovoltaics, or the various concentrating thermal technologies: solar troughs, solar dish/engines, and solar power towers. Solar "energy" is a more generic term, meaning any technology that converts the sun's energy into a form of energy—so that includes the aforementioned solar power technologies, but also solar thermal for water heating, space heating and cooling, and industrial process heat. Solar energy includes solar daylighting and even passive solar that uses building orientation, design and materials to heat and cool buildings. Now in the early 1980's, I was Political Director of the Solar Lobby, formed by the big nine national environmental groups, that embraced all solar technologies—which we viewed as wind, hydropower, and biomass, along with the long list of traditional solar conversion technologies. The thesis, which is correct, is that the sun contributes to growing plants, wind regimes, and evaporation and rain (hydropower), so that all the renewables are part of the solar family. Now, of course, most would argue that geothermal, and tidal and wave (effected by the gravitational force of the moon) are not solar, but we included these technologies as well.
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