The most common technologies providing direct conversion of radiated energy from the sun are Solar Hot Water (SHW), often captured in the more general solar heating science known as Solar Thermal, and Photovoltaics (PV).  SHW primarily uses the infrared part of the solar spectrum to provide heated water, whereas PV uses ultraviolet light to generate electricity.  Although descriptions of the technologies are often combined, they apply completely different techniques to extract the energy.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) ( and the Solar Trade Association (STA) (see: are the main bodies representing UK companies in the industry.