Thursday, October 8, 2015

Solar Energy Timeline

Harnessing solar power isn’t a new concept. It’s roots date back to the 7th Century B.C. and continues to develop even today. Solar technology has come a long way from concentrating the sun’s heat with glass and mirrors to generate fire; today we use solar power to generate energy for everything from solar-powered vehicles, to solar-powered buildings.
Take a look at some milestones in the development of solar energy and its technology:
7th Century B.C. – Magnifying glass used to concentrate sun’s rays to make fire and to burn ants.
3rd Century B.C. – Romans and Greets light torches for religious purposes using burning mirrors.
2nd Century B.C. – Archimedes, a Greek scientist, used the reflective properties of bonze shields to focus sunlight and set wooden ships on fire as early as 212 B.C.
1767 – Horace de Saussure, a Swiss scientist was credited with building the world’s first solar collector.
1816 – On September 27, 1816, Robert Stirling applied for a patent for his Economiser at the Chancery in Edinburgh, Scotland. He built these heat engines in his home workshop. This engine was later used in the dish/Stirling system, a solar thermal electric technology that concentrates the sun’s thermal energy in order to produce power.
1830’s – Sir John Herschel used Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure’s solar collector to cook food during his South African expedition.
1839 – French scientist Edmond Becquerel observes the first photovoltaic reaction while experimenting with an electrolytic cell made up of two metal electrodes placed in an electricity-conduction solution. When exposed to light, electricity generation increased.
1873 – Willoughby Smith discovered the photoconductivity of selenium.
1876 – William Grylls Adams and Richard Evan Day discover that selenium produces electricity when exposed to light. Although selenium solar cells failed to convert enough sunlight to power electrical equipment, they proved that a solid material could change light into energy without heat or moving parts.
1883 – An American inventor, Charles Fritts, described the first solar cells made from selenium wafers.
1891 – Clarence Kemp, a Baltimore inventor patented the first commercial solar water heater.
1905 – Albert Einstein catches wind of what’s happening and writes a landmark paper on the photoelectric effect, along with a paper on his theory of relativity. He wins the Nobel Prize (twenty years later) for his work.
1916 – Robert Millikan provided experimental proof of the photoelectric effect.
1954 – The New York Times celebrates the ‘Limitless Energy of the Sun’ when the 6% efficient solar cell is announced.
1958 – Hoffman Electronics achieves 9% efficient photovoltaic cells.
1962 – Bell Telephone Laboratories launches the first telecommunications satellite, the Telestar (initial power 14 watts).
1963 – Japan installs the world’s largest solar array, a 242-watt photovoltaic system, on a lighthouse.
1964 – NASA launches the first Nimbus spacecraft – a satellite powered by a 470-watt photovoltaic array.
1968 – The first wearable solar device – the solar powered wristwatch hits the streets.
1973 – The University of Delaware builds “Solar One,” one of the world’s first photovoltaic (PV) powered residences
1977 – Solar panels are installed on the roof of the United States White House.
1978 – Mini PV panels appear on calculators, now we can do long tricky sums way out in the desert
1980 – At the University of Delaware, the first thin-film solar cell exceeds 10% efficiency using copper sulfide/cadmium sulfide. Also that year, ARCO Solar becomes the first company to produce more than 1 megawatt of photovoltaic modules in one year.
1982 – Hans Tholstrup drives the first solar-powered car almost 2,800 miles between Sydney and Perth, Australia. Worldwide photovoltaic production exceeds 9.3 megawatts.
1992 – University of South Florida develops a 15.8% efficient thin-film photovoltaic cell made of cadmium telluride.
1994 – The first solar dish generator using a free-piston Stirling engine is tied to a utility grid.
1999 – Construction was completed on 4 Times Square, the tallest skyscraper built in the 1990s in New York City. It incorporates more energy-efficient building techniques than any other commercial skyscraper and also includes building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) panels on the 37th through 43rd floors on the south and west-facing facades that produce a portion of the buildings power.
1999 – Worldwide, a 1000 megawatts of PV power has been installed.
2002 -The largest solar power facility in the Northwest, the 38.7-kilowatt White Bluffs Solar Station goes online in Richland, Washington.
2004 – The solar roofs initiative proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger, meaning 1,000,000 people will have their homes powered by solar.
2005 – The PV Industry in China employs 13,810 people, at this stage.
2007 – “A comprehensive energy project that will pay for itself in a few years,” says the Vatican about its new solar power plan.
2007 – Google launches a massive solar panel project.
2007 – The race heat ups to produce the most efficient solar panel at this point, efficiency rates are around 40%.
2007 – Solar Aid, to end Africa’s dependence on the harmful and expensive kerosene lamp, launches ‘The Ravi’ solar lamp.
2011 – Fukushima nuclear disaster causes Germany to ditch its nuclear program in favor of renewables, with emphasis on solar PV.
2012 – On a sunny day in Germany, solar power produces 22 Gigawatts per hour, about the same as 20 nuclear power stations, enough for 50% of the entire county.
2012 – At this point in time there are about 288,000 solar projects in the United Kingdom.
2012 – US Government declares that the sun will power 4 million homes by 2020.
2013 – India’s first solar-powered ATMs are installed.
2013 – Spain is now generating more than 50% of its power through renewables. Renewables supply approximately 19% of the world’s final energy consumption.
2014 – In 2014, the U.S. solar industry achieved another record year growing by 34% over 2013. The country installed nearly 7.000 megawatts (MW) of solar electric capacity.

What Is The Future for Solar Energy?
  • Solar power has been a growing form of renewable energy, especially in recent years, largely attributed to government tax incentives such as solar rebates, solar tax credits and feed-in tariffs.
  • As the solar industry grows, it benefits the economy, employing nearly 174,000 solar workers in the United States.
  • Roughly 20,000 MW of solar capacity is forecasted to come online over the next two years, doubling the country’s existing solar capacity.
Miller Bros. Solar (MBS) is a chosen leader in operations and maintenance (O&M) solutions due to the company’s project expertise, full construction capabilities, and 160+ pieces of heavy equipment. MBS is one of the few electrical contractors that can simultaneously self-perform multiple utility scale solar projects while exceeding client expectations, controlling costs and adhering to timelines and customer schedules.Miller Bros. Solar provides O&M services for solar projects in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
For more information, visit or call 610-832-1000.

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