Solar energy is not new. Since the dawn of life on earth, we have used light as a source of energy. Without the rays of the sun all life would cease to exist. From the smallest of plants who convert sunlight into sugar during photosynthesis, to the newest invention of solar panels to harvest the suns energy, we all use the free energy of the sun to thrive. You can take advantage the suns energy with these five solar energy home improvements.
As we evolved through time, the invention of windows brought the first solar energy home improvement. Eventually evolving into skylights and then entire structures made from glass that could sustain plant life throughout the four seasons. Magnifying lenses brought, binoculars, telescopes and prescription glasses were being mass produced once the industrial revolution was in full swing.
This was as far as solar technology had come until 1816 when Robert Stirling invented an engine that could run on solar power. By the 1900’s many inventions such as the solar water heater, solar boilers and engines had come into existence. Early photovoltaic had been invented but it wasn’t refined until 1954 when Americans Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller and Gerald Pearson develop the silicon photovoltaic for bell labs that enabled it to power everyday electrical equipment.
By 1958 solar energy had entered the space age. Satellites evolved from basic PV cells that powered small radios, to large arrays that power the International Space Station today.
After another 30 years of refinement and technological advancements, solar energy had moved from outer space and back on our planet. 1982 ushered in the first large scale photovoltaic mega-watt power plant built in Hisperia, California.
Another great invention in 1982 was the first solar powered car. An Australian drove it almost 3000 miles from Sydney to Perth in 20 days, faster than a gas powered car had ever achieved.
By the time the 90’s rolled around great leaps in thinking had changed the way we used the sun to create energy. Stirling engines combined with high refraction lenses focused on a central boiler to create steam which causes a turbine to generate electricity was first hooked to the grid in 1994.
In the late 90’s the department of energy had invested an upgrade in its solar power tower project. Thin film technology was still in its infancy until 1999 when the National Renewable Energy Lab reached an 18% efficiency level.
In the new millennium, solar energy had reached a new level. Worldwide solar power levels had reached over the 1000 megawatt level. Home Depot began selling residential solar energy home improvements.
With new tax breaks and grants available for the burgeoning solar energy home improvements, it’s only a matter of time before solar energy for your home becomes commonplace.