6/27/13: America is having a solar revolution, and it’s a big deal. Solar installations increased more than 1,000% during President Barack Obama’s first term and contributed nearly half the new power capacity added to the grid in the first quarter of this year. We’ve always gotten energy from the sun—oil, gas and coal are essentially millions of years’ worth of photosynthesized sunlight—but now we’re getting it directly, without drilling or spilling or earth-broiling emissions. Solar prices have plunged 80% since 2009, a boon to installers like SolarCity, Sungevity and Sunrun, which have grown from a few hundred customers to more than 35,000 today. It’s also good for consumers, who can get clean power that’s cheaper than coal in large swaths of the country.