Solar power has been around since the eighties, but for decades it labored under the fossil-fueled suspicion that it was an ineffectual fairy tale liberals whispered about at weekend ashrams. The sun was good for growing plants, and making a day at the beach more enjoyable, but it was never going to compete with coal or oil as a power source. Now a combination of technological advances and sobering environmental factors has pushed alternative fuel sources to the forefront of the public consciousness, with solar power leading the way. No longer strictly a commercial venture, solar power can take your home virtually off the grid, and lead you to a cleaner, greener way of life. The sun has always been your friend, just think of it now as your own personal power plant -- one that happens to be 93 million miles away.