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Updated by Empower Energy on Jan 22, 2016
Headline for 5 facts that show solar energy is not a new phenomenon
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5 facts that show solar energy is not a new phenomenon

Solar panels are now an everyday sight around Britain as we all understand the sense it makes to use them. But how did we get to this point? How did we get from realising that the sun was a source of energy, to being able to use it to heat our homes? Here are some facts that show us humans were aware of the importance of solar energy long before those panels came along.


Solar power used for vehicles - 1981-82

The early eighties saw several scientists working successfully on powering aircraft and cars on solar power.


The first commercial use of solar energy – 1958

This occurred during the space race, as solar power was harnessed to help with space exploration via satellites and space stations.


Edward Becquerel - 1839

The photovoltaic effect was discovered when two electrodes placed in an electrolyte could increase electricity when exposed to light.


Horace-Benedict de Saussure - 1767

Horace has been credited with building the world's first “solar collector” a box with three panels of glass that could reach a temperature of 230 degrees Fahrenheit.


Archimedes - 2nd Century BC – or thereabouts

In theory, Archimedes showed that bronze shields could be used to reflect the sun back at an object and burn it