While there are many ways to generate solar power, most people think about solar panels when it comes to generating electricity on a large scale. However, these are just one method of harvesting solar energy. In fact, solar energy can be collected from almost any source, using various methods.
Depending on where you live and the time of day, you could use the sun’s energy to cook your food, warm your home, or even generate electricity. As a result, there is a lot of history behind solar energy, and we take a look at some of the most important moments in solar energy’s past.
Before there were solar panels and the like, people relied on the sun to do most of the work. For example, the Ancient Greeks built the first systems of what we would today call’solar panels’ to heat their homes and water their crops with solar energy. In fact, one of the most historic pieces of equipment ever made was the water mill that the Greeks invented. This piece of machinery not only enabled them to generate electricity using solar power, but it was also responsible for cutting the work time in half. Today, this type of mill is still used in many parts of the world to generate electricity from the sun’s energy.
Obviously, the Ancient Greeks were not the only ones to figure out how to utilize solar energy. In fact, a lot of early progress in this field was made in the Middle Ages, where many churches and castles added additional stories to their existing structures, sometimes adding solar panels in the process. These additional panels were most likely used to generate additional energy that could be used for various purposes, like powering a mill or heating water. However, in more recent times, technology has taken over and made most of these ancient ways of generating electricity obsolete.
The Industrial Revolution
It was during this time that electricity became commonly used, and most people turned their attention to making electricity cheaper and more accessible. This in turn led to a major increase in the demand for electricity, and the need for additional energy sources grew along with it. During this time a lot of interesting inventions were made that are still in use today, like the steam engine and the electric motor. These two inventions both represent great advancements in the field of energy, as well as showing how far we’ve come in terms of utilizing solar energy.
The motor, in particular, enabled people to utilize abundant and cheap energy stored in the form of coal and oil to generate electricity in a very efficient way. In fact, if you consider how much energy is contained in just a single gallon of gasoline, you’ll begin to realize how much electricity can be generated using this type of fuel. Interestingly, one of the first motorized vehicles was the solar-powered car invented by Dr. Nikola Tesla in 1898, and the concept behind it was to generate his own electricity using the sun’s energy. However, Tesla never actually built this vehicle, and it remains one of the most intriguing ideas ever conceived.
At this point, it would be remiss not to mention one of the fathers of solar energy, Louis Ike Kellogg. He is most known for founding what is now known as the United States of America, but he was also a strong advocate for alternative energy, and is credited with creating what we now know as the solar power industry. In fact, Kellogg established a company named after him, the Kellogg Corporation, which had the goal of making solar energy more affordable for everyone. While Kellogg died in 1919, the Kellogg Corporation is still a going concern, and is currently the second largest producer of solar panels in the world. The first being Suntec Solar.
The Modern Day
In the modern day, the most important thing to consider about solar energy is how to make it cheaper and more accessible for everyone. In other words, despite all the advancements in technology, there is still a lot of room for improvement in terms of making solar power a reality for everyone. As a result, many people have turned their attention to making better use of what we already have, rather than looking for ways to create something new.
One of the best places to start is where we produce most of the energy we use today: coal and oil. When it comes to using what we already have, rather than creating something new, one of the best things you can do is try and minimize your carbon footprint. In other words, try and minimize the amount of energy you consume by cutting back on the amount of energy you use, and instead invest in energy-saving devices and alternative energy sources. These two things alone can minimize your carbon footprint significantly, and as a result, make a huge difference in terms of conserving our planet’s resources.
One of the best things about solar energy is that it can be used to generate electricity whenever and wherever you want it. This, in turn, can reduce your dependency on the fossil fuels that plague our world. To give you an idea of how much electricity you could generate from the sun, if you lived in California, you could generate up to 1,200 kWh of electricity per day, using only the sun’s energy alone! That’s the equivalent of what you would use in an average American household in one year! Not bad for something as simple and natural as sunlight.
Another great thing about solar energy is that it is very decentralized, and can be used by anyone, anywhere. This is in stark contrast to electricity generated by the fossil fuels that are becoming more and more scarce, which are only available at certain times and places. Even then, it’s not exactly practical to travel from place to place just to find an electricity provider that has what you need. This is why we are seeing an increasing amount of attention being paid to solar power in off-grid locations, where access to the electrical grid is limited or non-existent.
Future Of Solar Energy
Despite all the progress that has been made in terms of making solar energy cheaper and more accessible, it still remains a rather expensive way of generating electricity. In part, this is because of the fluctuating and somewhat unpredictable nature of the sun’s energy. As a result, it makes it difficult for power companies to plan for the future, in terms of generating electricity demand. In other words, the power companies have to keep revising their energy mix, as the energy coming from the sun is always changing, and this makes it difficult to maintain an established energy rate.
One of the things that make solar energy so appealing is that it has the potential to provide electricity 24/7, wherever you choose to put the panels. Because of this, many people are beginning to see this as the future of energy, and are looking toward alternative sources for their everyday needs.
A lot of research is currently being done in terms of finding ways to make solar energy cheaper. Some companies are even looking into manufacturing small solar energy systems that can be integrated into everyday products, like laptops, cell phones, and tablets, among others.
In the foreseeable future, solar energy has the potential to provide nearly unlimited amounts of electricity, fully automatically, without any human intervention. In other words, future generations could literally live in a solar powered utopia.
At the same time, we need to protect our environment and reduce our huge carbon footprint. In addition to looking into alternative energies, we also need to be cutting back on the amount of energy we use, wherever we can. This will inevitably lead to an increase in the costs of living, which in turn, could put a lot of pressure on people’s everyday finances. However, with solar energy, this could become a thing of the past. Not only could people generate their own electricity, but they could even sell the excess energy they generate to the power companies, making it more affordable for everyone.
Despite all the progress that has been made in terms of using the sun’s energy, it still remains a somewhat expensive way of generating electricity. This is one area where we need to continue to evolve and make better use of what we have, rather than searching for ways to create something new.
In the end, it’s all about adapting to our changing world and remaining flexible. While technology will undoubtedly play a huge role in making solar power more affordable and accessible, it’s also important to remember that the sun will still shine, and we will still need to generate electricity from it in some way.