Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun have been harnessed by humans since ancient times, using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources, such as wind, wave, hydro-electric and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. Only a miniscule fraction of this solar energy is used.

Solar-powered electrical generation relies on heat engines and photovoltaic. Solar energy's uses are limited only by human ingenuity. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, day lighting, solar hot water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes. The most common way to harvest solar energy is through solar panels.