History of Solar Power Looking For Alternatives For Enegy.

A look at the past history of solar power could lead to future methods of alternative energy. We think that solar power is a modern day invention but solar power has been studied for many decades.

A History of Solar Power

by Adrian Fletcher

The start of modern solar power history can be traced to the middle of the 19th century. During this time the industrial age was beginning to influence much of western Europe. The need for a combustible resources in massive quantities being one of them. This resource was coal and forward thinkers, inventors and scientists began to ponder what might happen to society should this resource run out. The results of this thinking is the modern solar power industry. This article will plot the history of solar power from this time to modernity. From 1860 to 1880, the French inventor Auguste Mouchout constructed a solar powered engine. The idea behind the engine was to use the sun's heat to create steam. This steam could power other machinery used in many of the new factories that were being built.

The engine was well received by the French government that saw the potential for free energy. They invested money into the project that allowed Mouchout to continue his research and development. However, when coal became cheaper and more plentiful, the government began to lose interest in a solar powered engine and canceled the funding.

At this time, a similar developing was taking place in India. William Adams created a rack that comprised many small mirrors around a boiler. This produced an engine with around 2.5 horsepower.

In 1885 for approximately 4 years, Charles Tellier performed experiments with solar energy. He eventually created solar collectors that were installed on rooftops. The aim of the collectors was to power refrigeration units.

In 1903, Aubrey Eneas began investigating solar power. He drew his inspiration from the ideas of Mouchout but increased the scale of Mouchout's work. He created a solar power engine that could be sold to the public. In fact he made a sale of one engine to a doctor in Arizona. For around $2000 it was dispatched to Arizona but became damaged soon after and was never operational. Eneas went on to sell one more engine for around the same sum but this was also never operated because it was damaged soon after set up by a hailstorm.

During this period, Henry E. Willsie created 2 solar plants that collected energy during the day so that it could be used at night. He used flat plate collectors to do this. They created about 15 horsepower of output.

In 1906, Frank Shuman improved on Willsies system to create an engine that had a capacity of 33 horsepower. With further enhancements he eventually got his engine to around 55 horsepower.

The solar industry seemed to go into the doldrums during the war years. Not much of note was developed until 1954. Researchers in the Bell laboratories noticed the reaction of silicon with sunlight. The end result was the invention of photovoltaic cells.

Photovoltaic (PV) cells are the underlying principle behind the solar panels that you see on many a rooftop today. It creates direct current from sun light.

When the energy crises hit in the 1970's, it caused many people to look at how they got there energy resources. This increased the thinking that alternatives to fossil fuels had to be found so that the energy resources couldn't be used as a political bargaining chip again. This increased the interest in solar power. Research went into improving PV cells.

PV cells have developed significantly since the early days. They are now increasingly cheaper and more efficient than their predecessors. This improvement will continue as people and governments begin to take solar power seriously. More people are installing solar panels in their homes and this will only increase in the future. More grants and subsidies exist for the creators and users of solar powered technology.

For more http://www.solarpowerappliances.com/ residential solar power information visit solarpowerappliances.com. You will find plenty on solar applications, including http://www.solarpowerappliances.com/Solar_Outdoor_Lighting.html outdoor solar lighting and how to find rebates on solar systems.

The history of solar power will continue to grow as we study and try to capture the energy from the sun. Our studies today will be used by future generations.

We would like to thank Adrian Fletcher for submitting this article on the history of solar power.

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