In this thesis, we have studied the electronic and optical properties of solar energy m-terials. The studies are performed in the framework of density functional theory (DFT), GW, Bethe-Salpeter equation (BSE) approaches and Kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC). We present four sets of results. In the first part, we report our results on the band gap engineering issues for BiNbO4and NaTaO3, both of which are good photocatalysts. The band gap tuning is required for these materials in order to achieve the maximum solar to hydrogen conversion efficiency. The most common method for the band gap reduction is an introduction of foreign elements. The mono-doping in the system generates electrons or holes states near band edges, which reduce the efficiency of photocatalytic process. Co-doping with anion and cation or anion and anion can provide a clean band gap. We have shown that further band gap reduction can be achieved by double-hole mediated coupling between two anionic dopants. In the second part, the structure and optical properties of (CdSxSe1x)42nanoclusters have been studied. Within this study, the structures of the (CdS)42, (CdSe)42, Cd42Se32S10, Cd42Se22S20, and Cd42Se10S32 clusters have been determined using the simulated annealing method. Factors influencing the band gap value have been analyzed. We show that the gap is most significantly reduced when strongly under coordinated atoms are present on the surface of the nanoclusters. In addition, the band gap depends on the S concentration as well as on the distribution of the S and Se atoms in the clusters. We present the optical absorption spectra calculated with BSE and random phase approximation (RPA) methods based on the GW corrected quasiparticle energies. In the third part, we have employed the state-of-art computational methods to investigate the electronic structure and optical properties of TiO2high pressure polymorphs. GW and BSE methods have been used in these calculations. Our calculations suggest that the band gap of fluorite and pyrite phases have optimal values for the photocatalytic process of decomposing water in the visible light range. In the fourth part we have built a kinetic model of the first water monolayer growth on TiO2(110) using the kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) method based on parameters describing water diffusion and dissociation obtained from first principle calculations. Our simulations reproduce the experimental trends and rationalize these observations in terms of a competition between different elementary processes. At high temperatures our simulation shows that the structure is well equilibrated, while at lower temperatures adsorbed water molecules are trapped in hydrogen-bonded chains around pairs of hydroxyl groups, causing the observed higher number of molecularly adsorbed species at lower temperature.