Solar Energy

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Solar Energy Since the beginning of humanity, people have relied on the sun for their daily needs. Whether it is to grow the crops that they eat, dry clothes or warm their family, people have relied on the resource of the sun for sustainability. It was not until people started to get the idea of managing this energy source, that people were able to fully take advantage of the sun. In 1767, a Swiss scientist discovered a practical way to harness the energy of the sun. Horace de Saussure invented the “solar hot box,” the first devise to attract and capture the energy capabilities of the sun. The main uses of this primitive solar box consisted of cooking food, distilling water and pumping water for irrigation. It was not until the 1880’s that America caught on to this new source of energy. Introduced by John Ericcson, this engineer created solar power engines, used for power steam generators onboard ships. The most famous person credited with exposing solar capabilities to the west, however, was Clarence Kemp, the first man to patent solar water heaters in 1897. His invention caught on so well, that within seven years, thirty-percent of houses in California were using his invention. This was just the beginning of solar energy’s popularity within the US. In 1908, Carnegie Steel Company’s William J. Bailey produced the solar panels we are most familiar with today. The popularity of the solar power boom peaked around the end of World War I, when “more than 4,000 rooftop solar water heaters had been sold, and more than 60,000 were in place” (EIA). Shortly after this, scientists discovered the possibilities of solar energy in space. Even to date, many satellites and space projects take advantage of this renewable... ... middle of paper ... ...olar energy has undergone many stages throughout its existence, especially within the United States. At the beginning of its discovery, carried out through its peak in popularity around the 40’s and 50’s, solar energy enjoyed its time in the spot light. Due to limits on where solar plants can be built, inefficiency, unreliability and high prices, the use of this fairly environmentally friendly, renewable energy source has dwindled. While some hope for advances in the methods of collecting solar energy, currently it does not have the ability to meet our world’s ever-growing consumption of energy. Works Cited - “Current Uses and Future Prospects.” <http://www.personal.psu.edu>. - Energy Information Administration (EIA). The U.S. Government.<http://eia.doe.gov>. - “Solar Power.” Energy Matters. <http://library.thinkquest.org/20331/index.html>.

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