Solar resource mapping, cost-reduction strategies and effective business models are all needed to increase the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy technologies to exploit the enormous potential of Sunbelt countries. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) convened a discussion of these crucial components in parallel with the 29th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC 2014). Solar resource mapping, showing the exact locations and extent of solar resource potential, is vital for successful policy and project development. Cost-reduction strategies to accelerate solar PV deployment require a clear understanding of current cost differentials in different markets, in order to identify appropriate policy recommendations. Promoting the most effective business models for PV deployment, meanwhile, depends on recognising common challenges, sharing experiences from different markets and highlighting the key elements involved in successful solutions.