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The History of Solar Energy

The history of solar energy is obscure because it is a fundamental energy that powers so much activity on earth. If you have ever seen an animal sunning itself to keep warm this is an example of early solar energy usage. The use of refractive light to start a fire by directing the light of the sun in a beam is another primitive example.

Early architecture made use of the power of the sun in its design, determining the placement of windows so that they could take advantage of the heat of the sun.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar energy usage likely reaches back as far as the 7th century B.C. It was used in religious ceremonies in China and often employed the use of mirrors or other refractive tools.

The first solar energy collector was built in Switzerland in 1767 by Horace de Saussure. It was used for cooking.

Robert Stirling applied for a patent for the “economiser” on September 27, 1816, which generated thermal energy.

In 1860 the first predecessors of the modern solar generators were invented. In 1876, it was discovered by William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day that selenium produces electricity when exposed to light.

In 1880, Heinrich Hertz discovered that ultraviolet light alters the lowest voltage capable of causing a spark to jump between two metal electrodes.

Numerous other small discoveries occurred and by the 1950s, electric companies were using solar energy and making even more improvements. But, solar energy was expensive.

By the 1970s, it was becoming more affordable as Dr. Elliot Berman, with the help of Exxon, brings the cost of solar energy down by designing a new cell. “Solar cells begin powering navigation warning lights and horns on offshore gas and oil rigs, lighthouses, and railroad crossings. Domestic solar applications are considered good alternatives in remote areas where utility-grid connections are too costly.” (ibid.)

In the 1970s and 1980s solar energy became the power source for many remote homes and towns in the U.S. More and more astonishing innovations were made and more uses for solar energy were found, such as the powering of aircraft.

In the 21st century solar energy became more practical and in 2002 the Home Depot began selling residential solar power systems in 61 of its stores.

And now it has become so simple to create your own solar energy system that you can do it yourself. It’s all about having the right information, which you can find here.

There has never been a more important time for people to become self-sufficient. Not only are conventional energy costs on the rise, but many of the sources of this energy are unhealthy. You will enjoy the sense of independence that comes with being able to power your home and your life with solar energy.

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