History Of Solar Energy – Assignment Example

Essay Throughout history the sun has played an important role not only as an object of worship but also as a life and energy providing source. The later quality of the sun has been harnessed as solar energy which has been used as a renewable source of power since time immemorial. The use of energy from the sun as a source of power, apart from a symbol of worship, dates back to the 7th century B.C when magnifying glasses were used to capture the sun’s heat to make fire (The history of solar). Later, the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations captured the sun’s heat by suitably designing their building architecture. The concept of building houses facing southward in order to capture the sun’s heat during winter began during the Greek and Roman civilizations. As a further improvement glass windows were installed as it would further facilitate to trap the sun’s heat (The History; History of solar energy; The history of solar; Must- knows). During the Roman period this passive solar heating was also used for bath houses by building them facing southward. Glasshouses which housed several exotic plants were also designed during this period (The History; The history of solar). A broader range of solar energy utility began in the 18th century with the invention of the solar cooker by the Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure in 1767, which was a simple box covered with a sheet of metal on the top to trap the heat (The history of solar; Solar Energy Facts). Generation of electric charges by exposing certain materials to sunlight was documented in the 1930s which was followed by the invention of the photovoltaic cell by Edmund Becquerel (The history of solar; Solar Energy Facts; Solar energy). This was followed by the invention of the solar powered steam engine by August Mouchout in 1860s which was used as an alternative industrial energy source as it was widely feared that the availability of fossil fuel was fast running out (History of solar energy; The history of solar; Solar energy). The sensitivity of selenium cells to sun’s heat was discovered by Willoughby Smith which was later used by Charles Fritz who developed the first selenium based solar cells (The history of solar; Solar energy). In the year 1981, Clarence Kemp invented the first solar powered water heater which was later improved by William Bailey in 1909 (The history of solar; Must- knows). This was later followed by the invention that silicon could capture the sun’s heat and turn it into electricity with higher efficiency in the 1950s which lead to the construction of solar panels. This invention has made a tremendous impact and is till date widely employed to generate solar-based electricity in households and businesses (The history of solar; Must- knows; Solar energy). Modern technology has used solar energy for the functioning of appliances such as calculators, lamp posts, cell phones and more recently the car industry has begun to utilize solar power to run their vehicles thus saving fuel costs and also contributing to lower environmental pollution (Must- knows).
Reference:
1. “The History of solar energy”. 23 March 2010 http://greenprofs.com/the-history-of-solar-energy/
2. “History of solar energy- Knowledge for the Future”. 23 March 2010 http://www.alternate-energy-sources.com/history-of-solar-energy.html
3. “The history of solar”. U.S. Department of Energy. 23 March 2010 < www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/pdfs/solar_timeline.pdf >
4. “Must- knows about solar energy history”. 23 March 2010 http://usesolarenergynow.com/solar-energy-history/
5. Solar Energy Facts. 23 March 23, 2010 http://www.solarenergyfacts.net/history-of-solar-energy.html
6. “Solar energy history”. 23 March 2010 http://www.facts-about-solar-energy.com/solar-energy-history.html