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Origins of Solar Power

23rd June 2020

Many see Solar Power as a relatively new technology. However, the origins of Solar Energy begin in the 7th Century BC. During these times, it was common to light fires using magnifying materials. Even in the 3rd Century BC, Greeks and Romans regularly harnessed solar power with mirrors. This was to light torches for religious ceremonies.

The sun’s power has been utilised throughout the history of solar. Even the Romans built large South Facing windows just to capture the sun’s warmth.

Solar Panel technology caused lots of debate as invention could be accredited to a number of scientists. Solar Cell technology linked to the French Scientist Edmond Becquerel. His breakthrough was called the ‘photovoltaic effect’. It became popular scientific subject matter throughout the latter part of the 19th century. Soon, many scientists studied, experimented and produced the first Solar Cell in 1883.

The creation of the silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell marked the beginning of modern day Solar Power as we know it. This occurred in 1954 at Bell Labs by Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller and Gerald Pearson. NASA used Solar Panels on many of its early expeditions and in 1964, they were responsible for the first Nimbus aircraft, which was ran entirely on a 470 watt solar array.

Huge progress was achieved over the next two decades. In 1973, the first solar building, ran on a hybrid supply of solar thermal and PV. Incidentally, the PV wasn’t roof mounted, as many solar panels are today, but integral to the roof.

In 1981, the first solar powered airplane, ‘The Solar Challenger’, was built by Paul MacReady. Entirely powered by solar it flew across the English Channel to France. Later, in 1998, remotely powered ‘Pathfinder’ aircraft set a new record. It became the first solar powered aircraft to reach an altitude of 80,000 feet on it’s 39thconsecutive flight.

Even the White House got involved. In 1979, solar panels were fitted to the White House under Jimmy Carter’s administration. Sadly, these were removed by President Regan. However, president Obama requested that Solar Panels were installed once more in 2010.

Solar Power for homes has seen a huge increase over the last two decades. As we are increasingly concerned with sustainable energy sources, we look to Solar Power to provide the energy we need.

Over the last decade, Solar Install costs have fallen due to technology advancements and lower production costs. Consumers often turn to solar rebates and solar reviews to find the best installer and reduce the cost of installation. Consequently, Solar rebates are available in many countries. These rebates can offer superb incentives to invest in this energy saving technology. 

Solar Power has a fascinating history which spans many centuries. As popularity grows, the technology, efficiency and lower cost ensures this technology gains further momentum.

It’s predicted that a quarter of the world’s electricity will be solar generated by the middle of the century. This is second only to wind generated power. The global capacity may face a rise to more than 18 times its current level by 2050.

With this in mind, we think it’s that Solar Power is here to stay and the future is looking bright.

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