Solar Power History

It is a big misconception that solar power is a new concept. Solar Power History dates back to ancient times. Ancient Greek and Native Americans used solar power effectively as early as 400BC. They built their houses on the sides of hills that got maximum sunlight in the daytime and the heat stored inside helped them keep warm at night.
The Romans were the first people to use glass windows to trap warmth of the sun. They also erected glass houses and grew plants and seeds in them. However it was not until 1776 that the first solar collector was built. It was a cone shaped structure used to boil ammonia. This solar power collector generated great interest throughout the 19th century.
A further benchmark in Solar Power History came in 1861 when Auguste Mouchot mad a further advance in the field of solar power. He created a steam engine, which ran on solar power. This invention however was quickly forgotten owing to the cost of maintenance and the uniquqness of the steam engine.
In the 1880’s the first photovoltaic cells were built. They trapped the sun’s light and converted it into solar energy. They were made of selenium and were efficient by 1%-2%. In 1891 the first commercial solar water heater was patented by an American. This was another benchmark in the history of solar power.
The next 50 to 60 years were not significant in terms of the development in solar power. At this time even Albert Einstein was trying to use solar power for photovoltaic effect. In the 1950’s the use of solar power reduced as the prices of oil dropped.
Solar power again emerged in 1970’s, as oil prices soared on the open market. This was a great opportunity for the use of solar power to increase. Around 3,000 photovoltaic systems were set up. In the 1990’s people began to realize that total dependence on foreign countries for oil and petroleum was a cause for concern.
This is when solar power was considered a great alternative to other fuels. During the 1990’s one million homes had some form of solar power installed. Today solar power is used to a large extent as compared to any other time in history.
The photovoltaic systems today have been updated to a sleeker and smaller version but the basic idea remains the same. Who knows what the future holds for Solar Power History holds , except that the future is bright!