Solar Energy
A Reference Handbook
by David E. Newton
October 2015, 326pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-695-1
$66, £51, 58€, A91
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-696-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Solar energy is the fastest-growing form of energy production in the United States due largely to the drop in the cost of generating electricity from solar.

This book provides an outstanding single-volume resource on the topic of solar energy for young adults and general audiences.

While how much longer the world’s supply of fossil fuels will last is debatable, it is a fact that the fossil fuels that we depend on so heavily today are non-renewable resources that will inevitably be exhausted—making the need to shift to alternative sources of energy such as solar extremely important. Solar Energy: A Reference Handbook presents encyclopedic coverage of the social, political, economic, and environmental issues associated with the development and use of solar energy in the United States and around the world.

This book provides an in-depth description of the ways solar power has been used for at least 2,000 years. It outlines how humankind has utilized various forms of energy from the sun by way of photovoltaic cells, concentrating or focusing solar power, active and passive solar heating, and other mechanisms; and provides perspectives on today’s solar energy issues from a variety of subject experts.

Readers will better understand not only the advantages and disadvantages of solar power but also the critical nature of energy production to sustaining life on earth, thereby underscoring the importance of developing solar power and other alternative sources of energy to meet the world’s energy needs in coming decades. The book also includes profiles of key individuals and organizations related to the field of solar energy, a chronology of important events in the history of solar energy, and a glossary that defines the key terms used in discussing the topic of solar energy.


  • Provides an accessible and useful technical introduction to the various ways in which solar energy can be used for heat production and the generation of electricity
  • Outlines some of the critical environmental, technical, economic, and political issues that have prevented solar energy from becoming a more significant part of the nation's energy equation
  • Includes primary source documents such as relevant laws, court cases, position statements, and other items that allow readers to directly examine the history of solar energy
David E. Newton, EdD, has been a freelance writer of nonfiction books and ancillary materials for young adults for nearly 55 years. He has published more than 400 textbooks, research manuals, trade books, encyclopedias, and encyclopedia articles as well as lab manuals, problems books, and other publications. His published work includes ABC-CLIO's Wind Energy: A Reference Handbook; World Energy Crisis: A Reference Handbook; The Ozone Dilemma: A Reference Handbook; Environmental Justice: A Reference Handbook; and Vaccination Controversies: A Reference Handbook. He has also been an updating and consulting editor on a number of books and reference works. Newton was formerly a teacher of high school science and mathematics in Grand Rapids, MI; professor of chemistry and physics at Salem State College; and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. His special interest is in the social, political, economic, and other aspects of science and technology. He holds a doctorate in science education from Harvard University as well as a bachelor's degree in chemistry (with high distinction) and a master's degree in education from the University of Michigan.


"Two particular strengths are the section on facts and figures and the extensive annotated bibliography of outside resources. Suitable for young adult and nonspecialist researchers, this concise, single-volume resource would be a good addition to high school and undergraduate libraries or public libraries where readers may be interested in the constantly developing topic of solar power."—Booklist, March 9, 2016

"The content of the book is well suited to its audience. High school and undergraduate college students will find the resources listed for further research understandable and offering them the ability to expand their interest on a particular area of solar energy."—Reference Reviews, April 11, 2017

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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