When we talk about the sun's energy, we think of certain forms of energy that are known to all of us: wood and sun dried animal droppings. For thousands of years man made use of these sources of energy to keep him warm and for cooking.
For most of us in these modern times, we do not fully understand this form of energy. We do not know what it is nor quite understand how to use it. So we must dig deep into its history to have a better understanding.
Historical Role of Solar Power
Throughout history, the sun has played an important role in man’s life. It was worshiped as a god in many parts of the world since it sustains life on earth. It was worshiped for its healing properties and because it gave off energy.
In Ancient Greece, the Greeks built temples devoted to worshiping sun gods: Helios and Apollo. Not only did the Greeks worship sun gods, they also made use of the sun's energy by using solar home design for their homes.
In another part of that region of the world, the Romans were able to improve upon the Greek’s design and made use of windows in their architecture. The incorporation of windows into a building structure allowed buildings to trap more of the sun's heat. This heat played an important role in a building’s ability to produce good growing conditions for plants.
History of Solar Energy - The First Hot Water Heater Prototype
An unknown fact many to people, the first of its kind solar water heater is actually a result of do-it-yourself projects. These projects were the result in people’s desires for boiling water and keeping the water hot for longer periods of time.
Then during the 18th century, scientists were able to realize that covering a box with a glass top while heating it would actually let water reach the boiling temperature. However, it wasn’t until later on when they separated the heat collector from the water tank that the first prototype for a solar hot water heater was created.
History of Solar Energy- Discovery of Solar Energy Cells
The creation of the modern photovoltaic cells actually came as a result of three American scientists who were working on the development of transistors with silicon during the 1950s at Bell Labs.
During this time, photovoltaic cells were not an affordable energy source back then. However, as the satellite industry began to grow in the late 1950s, the photovoltaic cell industry also grew along with it since PV cells serve as the main fuel source for satellites orbiting the earth.
Renewable Energy Today
Today, technology has advanced tremendously since the 1950s. The suns's energy has now sparked a lot of renewed interest and focus. It has now become more affordable, and offers more use and application in today’s energy needs. We see photovoltaic cells are now being used in businesses, homes and government buildings today.