Solar energy is electromagnetic radiation transmitted from the sun. There are two types of solar projects: solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (electric and often referred to as PV) and solar thermal.
Solar electric projects convert the energy from the sun's rays into electricity to feed the building unit or the grid to which it is connected. Solar panels are used to collect the radiant wavelength energy of the sun. A converter is then used to change the energy into electricity that can be transfered into a grid.
Solar thermal projects involve the use of solar energy for heating purposes. Typically, pipes are arranged such that a cluster of piping passes through a solar panel. Radiant energy from the sun increases the temperature within that section of pipes and that heat spreads throughout the piped loop.