During the installation of Windows 8 from bootable media (CD, USB memory stick, etc.), provided you have nothing on the SSD you wish to keep, you will be given the opportunity to erase the current partition(s). With the SSD in a blank condition, you can simply instruct the Windows 8 installation to use that drive and it will partition and format it as necessary.
Deleting the partitions on a drive will remove the entirety of the contents. An OEM installation of any Windows operating system is not going to preserve any installed applications, but may preserve data files, provided you do not delete partitions or change formatting during the installation. If you need to preserve installed applications, you need to do an upgrade installation. If one is not available to you, there may be little choice in the matter.
You will need some means of installing your software yourself after an OEM Windows installation, whether it's from the original disc, a digital download, or otherwise.
A few things to keep in mind, some software requires activation, code, or cd-keys to be fully functional, or even install. Make sure you have these on hand for any programs which require them, and that you need to reinstall.
Windows 8 ships with a lot of drivers for hardware, but you may find that it does not cover every piece of equipment in your particular computer. It is highly advisable to gather necessary drivers before you torpedo a working Windows installation by performing a new installation, as you may be required to install drivers that you have no means of acquiring through the same machine after reinstallation. A good example would be the networking drivers.
Clean install as suggested, i.e. on to your SSD with all partitions deleted and on to 'Unallocated Space'. Then when the install is complete, Activate Windows by performing a 'Refresh'. Leave your Installation Media in place and type 'Refresh' at your Start Screen, then from Settings choose 'Refresh your PC' Once completed Windows will be activated. If you install with an Internet connection most drivers will be installed by Windows, but check Device Manager for any missing. That said, W8 will probably find them eventually and will point you in the right direction in the 'Solve PC Issues' in your Sys Tray...