History of Solar Energy

Powerful Essays
History of Solar Energy

Even though most people think solar energy is a recent invention, it has been around for centuries, even in ancient times. Efforts to design and construct devices for supplying renewable energy began 100 years before the height of the Industrial Revolution. Engineers and scientists worried about what would happen to the world’s nations after using up the fuel supply. Most of the environmental visionaries realized that the potential rewards of solar power outweighed the technical barriers. Solar pioneers developed techniques for capturing solar radiation and used it to produce steam to power the machines of the era. We will explore the historical evolution of solar energy, from ancient times to modern, and learn about the contributions of the most prominent inventors of solar powered devices.

In the first century B.C., the first ideas for implementing solar power rose upon religious, military, and industrial reasons. The Chinese and the Greeks found uses for solar power in their religious ceremonies. Concave mirrors were used to relight the sacred flame of Delphi when in went out. The ancient Egyptians used the sun as part of their mummification process, in which they used the sun to dry dead bodies. This was a form of passive solar power. In 100 A.D., a historical writer by the name of Pliny the Younger built a house in northern Italy that had mica windows in one room. The mica windows stored heat and later gave it off. The additional heat generated by this room reduced the amount of wood that had to be burned.

In the second century B.C., the Romans started starting experimenting with solar power. They placed their buildings in such a way as to capture ...

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...ed their backs on the sun. In the mid 1990’s there were few incentives for solar electric homes or heating systems. Approximately, 1.2 millions buildings in the United States are solar heated.

Concluding Notes

Solar power has come a long way. From its humble beginnings in ancient times, to the sophisticated uses of the present day, solar power will most likely always be with us. Solar pioneers had the difficult task of convincing skeptics to see that solar energy was something more than a curiosity. To the general population, improving and adapting existing power technology seemed less risky than trying to establish alternative energy sources. But alternative energy sources are necessary. Solar power is so useful because as long as the sun’s rays continue to hit the earth, solar power can always be a viable means of generating heat.
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