The Transition to Solar Energy: An Historical Approach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The industrialized world is beginning to make the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. This chapter focuses on solar energy research in the United States from 1870 to the present. The solar plant consisted of a solar water heater, a storage tank, a boiler, an engine, and a condenser. The solar heater was a shallow wooden trough tightly covered with a double layer of window glass. Solar energy met with its greatest success in the mundane application of heating water for domestic service. A thriving solar water heater industry once existed in the United States, and hundreds of thousands of units operated in California and Florida. The US Government was actively supporting the development of light-sensitive cells that converted solar energy to electricity. These were the power cells for spacecraft, and this technology--photovoltaics--was developing at a number of industrial laboratories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnergy Transitions
Subtitle of host publicationLong-term Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780429708381
ISBN (Print)9780367022068
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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