Someday, our energy sources are going to run out. What will we do? What can we do? Our major source of energy now is fossil fuel. If that were to run out, there must be an alternate way to get energy. Because of this problem, there has been a lot of research going on. Through that research, alternate ways to get energy have been developed. They include wind energy, solar energy, nuclear energy, tidal energy and many more. In this paper I will focus on the aspects of solar energy. I will look at the history of solar energy, cover the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy and then finally I will talk about the concept of solar energy (how it works) and ways that solar energy can be used in your everyday life.
First let’s look at the history of solar power. It has been more than a century ago that solar power was first looked into. Some people believe that the reason for alternate energy sources came in the 1970’s when there was an energy crisis. But according to history, the first look at alternate energy sources came when a scare of running out of fossil fuel came about. Many different things were looked at, but solar power somehow was the one that was looked at the most seriously. Once solar power was focused on, years later, there were ways that were invented to obtain the radiation from the sun and use it to make things work. However, the development of solar power faded when World War I came along. After the war, energy was in demand and therefore, solar power took a back seat in science. Fossil fuel still remained the main source of energy at that time.
Most of the credit for solar energy should go to the man by the name of Auguste Mouchout. Although he was a mathematics instructor, he did quite a bit of work on solar power. He is the one that is credited with having the first conversion of solar radiation into mechanical energy. He began his researching around 1860 and in 1861 he was given the first patent for a motor working on solar power. However, Mouchout’s first model wasn’t quite the best one ever. He did a lot of experimental work and finally came up with a model that worked a lot like our models work today. Eventually, his solar energy system worked well enough to power a steam engine. Over the years, Mouchout kept making changes to his invention so that it would work better. Throughout those years, he made big improvements and in 1878 he exhibited his in invention in Paris. Mouchout was awarded a metal for being capable of building such a device that used the sun’s power to make ice. However, his whole invention was shot down by the government because the price of coal had dropped and alternate energy sources weren’t needed as much.
Although Mouchout stopped his research, other individuals in the following years also took a shot at it. In late 1878, William Adams felt that a solar tower model would work better so he began construction. Just like Mouchout, Adams impressed many...