A brief history of solar energy

A brief history of solar energy

A brief history of solar energy

Mankind has a long history of using solar energy. Many foreign documents mostly believe that the earliest man to use solar energy is Archimedes, a famous scientist in ancient Greece. According to legend, in 214 BC, the ancient Greek scientist Archimedes asked hundreds of soldiers to face the sun with polished shields, so that the sun shining on the shields were reflected and focused and aimed at the attack on the Port of Lasius in Sicily. The wooden warships of the ancient Roman Empire caused the invading fleet to be burned and sunk and disintegrated. However, historical research shows that the history of human use of solar energy does not originate from Archimedes, but can be traced back to a more distant age.

In fact, China is the first country in the world to use solar energy, and the ancestors of the Chinese nation are the earliest and most outstanding pioneers in the use of solar energy. According to ancient records, as early as the 11th century BC (Western Zhou Dynasty), our ancestors had invented the use of copper concave mirrors to converge sunlight to light moxa to make fire, which is called “yangsui making fire” in ancient books. This is the solar energy utilization technology. The copper concave mirror is a primitive solar concentrator. “Sunlight making fire” occupies an important position in the history of world scientific invention, about 900 years before Archimedes used solar energy to focus.

A brief history of solar energy
Yangsui making fire

With the rapid development of science and technology and modern industrial production, under the background of the limited fossil energy resources and the increasing destructive effect of the large amount of fossil fuels on the ecological environment, it has promoted people’s attention to the use of solar energy and entered the modern application. The stage of using solar energy by science and technology. From a global perspective, it has truly attracted the attention of the international community and organized large-scale research and development and experimental demonstration of solar energy utilization, which began in the early 1960s. The International New Energy Conference held by the United Nations in Rome in 1961 put solar energy utilization as one of the main topics. Later, due to the rapid development of oil production, interest in the use of solar energy was once reduced. The global oil crisis that began in the early 1970s once again aroused people‚Äôs enthusiasm for the use of solar energy. Many countries have used considerable human, material and financial resources to conduct research on solar energy use, and have formulated a nationwide approach to the use of solar energy. , Long-term planning. In 1979, U.S. President Carter officially announced that by 2000, renewable energy based on solar energy would be developed to account for 20% of the country’s energy composition. The European Community has established joint research and test bases for solar energy utilization in several member states. Many countries have established solar energy industries. China started the research of modern solar energy utilization devices in the late 1950s, and began to include solar energy utilization in the national plan for arrangements since the early 1970s. After more than 30 years of hard work, numerous results have been achieved, which enabled the rapid development of modern solar energy utilization technology and its industry, and laid a solid technical and industrial foundation for the more extensive development and utilization of solar energy in the 21st century.

Although mankind has used solar energy for more than 3,000 years, the use of solar energy as an energy and power source has a history of less than 400 years. According to the development and application of solar energy, the development process of solar energy utilization in the modern world can be divided into eight stages.

The first stage: 1615~1900

The second stage: 1901~1920

The third stage: 1921~1945

The fourth stage: 1946~1965

The fifth stage: 1966~1973

The sixth stage: 1973~1980

The seventh stage: 1981~1991

The eight stages of the development process of solar energy utilization in the modern world will be introduced in detail in a later article.