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A comprehensive performance analysis of the energy detector over fading channels with single antenna reception or with antenna diversity reception is developed. For the no-diversity case and for the maximal ratio combining (MRC) diversity case, with either Nakagami-m or Rician fading, expressions for the probability of detection are derived by using the moment generating function (MGF) method and probability density function (PDF) method. The former, which avoids some difficulties of the latter, uses a contour integral representation of the Marcum-Q function. For the equal gain combining (EGC) diversity case, with Nakagami-m fading, expressions for the probability of detection are derived for the cases L =2,3,4 and L >; 4, where L is the number of diversity branches. For the selection combining (SC) diversity, with Nakagami-m fading, expressions for the probability of detection are derived for the cases L =2 and L >; 2. A discussion on the comparison between MGF and PDF methods is presented. We also derive several series truncation error bounds that allow series termination with a finite number of terms for a given figure of accuracy. These results help quantify and understand the achievable improvement in the energy detector's performance with diversity reception. Numerical and simulation results are also provided.