Solar energy has been there even before Christ (BC) mirrors were used to concentrate sun rays at a point to light up fire. The evolution of solar energy from that time to today didn´t change that process much. The same process was used to concentrate sunrays to heat up water. Nowadays we have powered homes tools powered by solar and even vehicles powered by solar.
In this article you will be able to follow up the solar energy evolution to the present time by time.
The Evolution Of Solar Energy – History Of Solar Power
During the 7th century BC magnifying glasses were used to concentrate sun rays to make up fire and burn up ants on the ground. In Greek and Roman concentrating mirrors were used to light up torches for religious reasons in temples and shrines during the 3th century BC.
Scientist Swiss got credited for building the first world solar collector in 1767; later sir John Herschel used it to cook during his expedition in South Africa in the 1830s.september 1816 a church minister (Robert stirling) built heat engines in his workshop. The engine was later used in a dish (stirling system), which was a thermal technology that concentrated the sun rays thermal energy to produce power. Edmond Becquerel, in 1839 discovered that when electrolyte cells were placed in a current conducting solution, current generation increased when exposed to light. Thus he discovered photovoltaic effect. In 1876 Richard Evans and William Gryll Adams discovered that selenium produced electricity when exposed to light. Charles fritts in 1883 gave the first literature on how to make solar cells from selenium wafers. And later in Baltimore, Clarence Kemp invented the fist solar water heater.
All the above were milestones in the historical evolution of solar technology, in the early 1700s and 1800s. How different inventors and scientists discovered solar energy and conversion of it into electricity. Below we are going to look at what we can say is more late, the inventions made about solar energy in the 20th century
In the 20th century various discoveries were made involving solar energy:
· In 1904 Wilhelm Hallwachs found that the combination of cuprous oxide and copper is photosensitive.
· In 1905 Albert Einstein wrote about the photoelectric effect along with his paper on theory of relativity.
· 1908 William bailey invented solar collector made of copper coils in an insulated box which is roughly still the present design.
· 1914 experimental proof of photo electric effect was provided by Robert Millikan.
· In 1918 Jan Czochralski came up with a way to grow single crystal silicon.
· In 1921 Albert Einstein won a noble price for his theory on photoelectric effect (1904’s research).
· 1932 Stora and Audobert found cadmium sulfide (CdS) to be photo voltaic.
· In 1947 solar buildings were in demand in the United States as a result of lack of energy during the Second World War. Libbey Owens Glass Company published a book that profiled forty nine greatest solar architects of that time.
· In 1954 Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson developed the first silicon photovoltaic cells (PV) at Bell Labs which was capable of converting solar light energy into some reasonable power to run electrical equipment.
· In 1955 western electric started to sell licenses for silicon cells technology.
· 1959 10% efficiency of photovoltaic cells was achieved by Hoffman electronics which was commercially available. Also Hoffman learned the use of grid contact to reduce series resistance significantly. Later that year Explorer VI satellite was launched having a photovoltaic array as the power source.
· In 1960 Hoffman electronics achieves 14% efficiency of the photovoltaic cells. Dodgeville, Wisconsin founds silicon sensors Inc and it starts to produce selenium and silicon solar cells.
· 1966 NASA launches the first stargazer (Orbiting Astronomical Observatory)that was powered by one kilowatt solar photovoltaic array.
· In the 1970s Dr. Eliot Berman and Exxon Corporation designs a less cost solar module that brought down the cost to $20 per watt from $100 per watt. Due to this new design solar cells began to power navigation lights, oil rigs, light houses railway road crossing and domestic applications began to look sensible in locations where grid could not exists.
· In 1976 NASA starts to install 83 solar power systems throughout the continents except Australia. These systems were to provide various applications as telecommunication, room lighting, medical clinic lighting, water pumping, grain milling, and refrigeration. Still in this year David Carlson fabricated the first amorphous silicon photovoltaic module.
· In 1982 the first megawatt-scale power station using solar modules went online in Hesperia California. In this point in time Hans Tholstrup invented the first car powered by solar. US department of energy began solar one which was a ten mega watt central receiver project (a solar-thermal electric or concentrating solar power technology).Volkswagen of Germany started to test solar module systems fitted on roofs and dasher for ignition systems. Still in 1982 world solar power production exceeded 9.3 megawatts which should exploitation in the industry.
· In the 1990s cumulative installation of solar power systems increased to 1000 megawatts worldwide and of course with other few solar energy such as remote controlled aircrafts (path finder), and other projects such as solar buildings and solar power plants.
· In the 2000s there is no much of invention done on solar energy industry. What is took place in the start of this century is developing and increasing the efficiency of solar photovoltaic cells. Companies also set up very large industries to produce photovoltaic cells others come into market as the sellers and installers of solar power.
Till now solar has been a very effective way to power the world. Also it turned to be an investment when Hermann Scheer introduced the National Renewable Energy Act in German Parliament. Renewable energy has gradually continued to grow and investors venturing in this industry are overwhelming large attributed by government policy of feed in tariffs. History about solar energy is being made every day and its pretty sure that solar energy industry is growing as time moves on.
Hope you found this post about the evolution of solar energy to be helpful and interesting. As Always, if you got any questions about this post just leave a comment below in the comment section. I will be more than happy to answer them.
Thank you for reading!
solar pv technician and team member on: