Solar Energy

Research conducted through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) signifies that Florida currently ranks 11th in the country for solar market attractiveness. This ranking is based on a number of factors including energy policies, amount and quality of solar resources, utility rates and customer load match.

Photovoltaics (PV) is a technology related to the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity. Photovoltaic cells (solar cells) are semi-conductor cells which, when exposed to sunlight, convert sunlight into an electrical current.

FESC researchers hold the efficiency world-record for over ten years in thin-film cadmium telluride solar cells. In addition, researchers are pioneering thin, inexpensive, and flexible organic photovoltaics to produce electric energy.


Solar thermal collectors harness solar energy from sun for thermal energy (heat). Solar thermal collectors can be categorized by the temperature at which they deliver heat:

  • Low temperature collectors: Used to heat swimming pools.
  • Medium temperature collectors: Used to create hot water for residential and commercial use.
  • High temperature collectors: They often utilize mirrors curved in a parabolic shape to concentrate sunlight and used for absorption cooling or electricity generation.

image00214The development of solar water heating technologies has enabled more than 250,000 systems to be installed in Florida, saving consumers more than $30 million in energy costs annually.

Pioneering research, combining energy efficient building technology and rooftop solar electricity generation, led to the construction of super energy efficient residences in Florida that are saving more than 90 percent in energy use, compared to conventional homes.


Forty-five schools in the state of Florida have received photovoltaic systems (1 or 2-kilowatt (kW) demonstration system or a 10-kW emergency shelter PV system.) They are equipped with data monitoring systems for student study, and teacher and student curricula assist teachers in implementing student projects in renewable energy.