Solar Power: An Overview of Past, Present and Future

It’s a fact that the sun is the biggest energy source in the solar power system. The sun is large, bright, and grinning with natural energy. As the sun holding so much energy, the best way is found to harness it, and in this way, we get solar power or solar energy.

We have been enjoying the light and heat of the sun as long as it’s been around. The whole thing that sun touches is gaining some sort of benefit from it, whether it’s an individual getting some vitamin D or a plant using the sun rays to perform photosynthesis.

Let’s take a closer look at the past, present, and future aspects of solar power.

A brief History or Past of Solar Power

People have started harnessing the sun’s power (solar energy) a long time before the invention of solar panels. Solar panels are a comparatively new technology in solar power generation and operating by solar power, dating back to the 70s. The history of solar power or solar energy extents from so far as the 7th century B. C.

Human beings have been playing with solar energy since the dawn of time. People in an ancient civilization learned to store the sun’s energy during the day by using building techniques to keep their homes warm at night and also used glasses, mirrors to light fires. These types of techniques started in the 1950s when technology became developed to convert the sun’s energy into electricity using photovoltaic cells, or what we call today, solar panels. Have a look at some of the key phases of solar power’s journey!



The Ancient Times – Homes and bathrooms in the ancient times had cleverly placed windows to get the sunlight into heat water tanks, or built the window wherever they could catch the most light.

1700 – 1800 (get to know the Photovoltaic power generation Effect) – A group of scientists in the year 1876 discovered that selenium could turn light into electricity without heat. Selenium was then used to create the first solar cell, and the more electricity became produced if the cells were exposed to sunlight. And, in 1839, scientist Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect by experimenting with electrolytic cells.

1900 – The first solar collector, very similar to solar panels (operates by solar power) we use today, was produced in 1908. It got invented three years after the publication of the paper on the photoelectric effect that won Einstein the Nobel Prize.

2000 (Solar for Everyone) – Since the beginning of the 20th century, scientists have been focusing on ways to make solar panels more efficient and convenient, and as a result, technology has become more easily reached to everyone.

History of Solar Power                                               (Image Source: Sunpowerbythesolarquote.com)

Present overview of Solar Power

At present, solar technology categorizes into four different classifications.

Passive Solar – There are several homes built to utilize this type of solar energy. Windows, walls, and floors collect, store, and distribute solar power in the form of heat or sunlight in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. The passive solar energy system doesn’t involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices.

Solar Thermal Power Generation– This technology is knowhow for harnessing the sun’s heat. Solar thermal is beneficial to heat water on a small or large scale.

Solar Photovoltaic: This particular technology like solar PV module uses for producing electricity from the sun using solar cells, a part of the solar panels.

Concentrated Solar: It helps in producing electricity from the sun using mirrors (heliostats) to focus a large area of solar thermal energy onto a small area. And the electricity is produced when the intense sunlight converted to heat, which drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator.



Future of Solar Power

Innovation in solar technology in the future will continue to progress its efficiency, size, cost, and making it more dominant throughout society. Even it has predicted (solar power future developments) that the trend of utilizing solar power will continue toward incorporating solar panels placed upon the roof of many buildings. 

Future of Solar Power                                                    (Image Source: Sunlux.com)

Some of the better innovations in terms of solar energy or power will be coming in the future including the solar orb, solar cars (commercially available), solar balloons, nanowires, and working with the infrared spectrum.

The bright future of solar power is closer than you may think!



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