Right now, solar energy can be found throughout your day-to-day life, even in ways you might not normally think of. Many small items, like watches, calculators, decorative lights, and chargers for small electronics.

Solar energy is also used to generate heat, especially for swimming pools, but also for entire households. And, of course, one of the most visible ways is through solar panels and arrays for power plants, buildings, and so on. In fact, there are even solar panels on the White House!

The Solar Energy Industries Association, a national trade association, called 2012 a history year for the U.S. solar industry. SEIA reported 3,313 megawatts of solar energy coming from new installations — a 76 percent increase from then-record-breaking 2011 figures. The U.S. now has enough solar electric capacity to power more than 1.2 million households.