Our previous post “5 Reasons Why Solar Power is Taking Over Australian Households” talked about the boom in solar power use in Australia – a wild 95.2% increase in just half a decade – so it’s easy to think about harnessing solar energy for human use as a recent phenomenon. But in reality, using sun power to get humanity going is a tale as old as time.
John Perlin, the man who has made a name for himself as a “solar historian” has recently published a new book on the history of solar energy. Chronicling 6,000 years of solar energy use by humans, the book is a fascinating read on just how, for six centuries, we have built our entire lives around the sun. And even more so, we’ve been busy inventing things that have brought us to where we are today – ready and able to harness solar power even more efficiently than ever before. Solar energy is not just a cool blast from the past, but is in fact the way of the future.
In 2001, a U.S. Government report published a timeline of the history of solar power by people, which began with using a magnifying glass to burn sorry little ants and to make fire, and ended with a prediction of the continuing use of solar energy for the foreseeable future. The timeline seemed pretty clear that solar power was here to stay (not surprising, since it never quite went away in the first place), and foretold the demise of conventional energy sources even as commercial solar energy systems would become more affordable within ten years.
And nowhere did these predictions come truer than in Australia, which is the “sunniest continent in the world”.
From the figure above, Australia’s place amongst the elite of the world’s solar energy generators is obvious. The country is eagerly making leaps and bounds in use of solar energy as a prime source of power, and this trend is an upward one. We love our solar power and we aren’t ashamed to say so, says the Commonwealth Scientific Research and Industrial Organization (CSIRO).
But when did the Australian obsession with solar power begin, and how did it grow so quickly? The answer, it seems, is that the country is a mix of the right natural conditions, government policies to promote solar systems and use, and an overall global trend in moving away from traditional fossil fuels and towards a sustainable system of power generation.
For one, Australia is blessed with tons of sun.
For another, Australia’s own history with solar energy is quite interesting; even though government support has steadily been dwindling, the Australian public is more determined than ever to keep up the rapid demand for solar power in the country.
In future posts, we’ll be looking at solar systems from every angle, whether it’s the invention of the solar battery, comparing solar panels or learning about living off grid solar, so do keep coming back to read about our ode to the continually cool innovations that are happening around solar power.
And if you decide that its time to welcome the future of energy into your life, contact The Green Power Company to find a solar power system that’s a perfect fit for you.