Discover the Remarkable History of Pioneering Solar Energy
Solar energy history is as old as humanity. Its history extends much further back than you might ever think. In ancient time, Greeks & Romans saw the great benefits in Sun’s energy and used the sun’s rays to light and heat indoors. It was believed that as early as 212 BC solar energy was being used by Archimedes. According to some legends, Archimedes used reflective surfaces to burn enemy ships.
Let’s Explore the Significant History of Solar Energy:
First Solar Collector: Since 1767, first solar collector was created by Horace-Benedict de Saussure(Swiss scientist).This collector later on was known to the first solar oven. It is an insulated box covered with three layers of glass to assimilate heat energy.
Photovoltaic Effect Defined: During the year 1839, 19 year old French scientist “Edmund Becquerel”, observed the photovoltaic effect while doing experiment with an electrolytic cell made up of two metal electrodes. He found that electrical current in certain materials could be increased when exposed to light. It was the year when a major change in the evolution of solar energy happened.
Photo Conductivity of Selenium: In the year of 1873, Willoughby Smith observed the photoconductivity of selenium. This research was further extended in 1876 and it was discovered that selenium can produce solar energy. After that many attempts were conducted to construct solar cells using selenium. This experiment was not 100% successful but leaved an important message “solid could convert light into electricity without heat or moving parts”. It was the greatest discovery that created a strong base for future developments in the history of solar power.
Light Discoveries and Solar Cells: During the period of 1883-1891, various inventions were made for exploring solar energy uses. In 1883, Charles Fritz turned the rays of the sun into electricity. In that era, first solar cell was introduced which was wrapped with selenium wafers. Since 1887, a great discovery was made by Heinrich Hertz that ultraviolet light altered the lowest voltage capable of causing a spark to jump between two metal electrodes. Later in 1891, first solar heater was made.
Copper Collector: Copper collector was invented by Willaim J in 1908. It was an enchantment of the earlier work done with a little difference i.e. Use of copper insulation.
Photoelectric Effect: In the era 1905, Albert Einstein published his paper on photoelectric effect which claimed that light consists of packets or quanta of energy which are now known as photons but at that time there was no experimental evidence. In 1916, Robert Millikan proved the photoelectric effect with evidence.
Solar Popularity & its Uses in Space: During 1947, solar power started to gain popularity among many people in USA. In 1958, solar power was used to power space exploration equipment.
Efficient solar panel & Governments Embrace Solar Energy: In 1970, efficient solar panel was designed by Exxon Corporation which was economical. After that in 1977, US Government launched a Solar Energy Research Institute to embrace the solar energy uses.
Solar powered Aircrafts, Cars, and Plants: In the era 1981-1999, various uses of solar power was discovered which then converted to great inventions such as: solar powered aircraft, ships, cars and planes. After that, uses of solar energy went to a great hike.
“Tûranor PlanetSolar” is the biggest solar powered ship in the world that runs entirely on energy found in Sunlight. In May 2012, it became the first amazing solar electric vehicle to circumnavigate the globe.
One of the greatest inventions during 2012 was “Record Breaking Solar Plants” who had installed capacity of 200 megawatts. This is surpassed by India’s Gujarat Solar Park (collection of solar farms scattered around the Gujarat region) that has a collective installed capacity of 605 megawatts.
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