With all the excitement around the latest improvements and discoveries in the field of solar, it is often difficult to imagine what must have been back in the 1970s, when solar power generation first appeared on the map.
Well, solar panels definitely looked different, especially when they were a part of a massive solar concentrator that collects scattered light from all directions and turns it into electricity. Nevertheless, Argonne National Laboratory had the concept, a lot different from what it looks like now, but definitely one that set the scene for future developments.
I doubt that many would recognize what the object on the picture above is, without having the description that comes with it. Well, it might not look at all like the technology nowadays, but it is a solar array– only that it is 40 years old. Back then, the Department of Energy funded a project for the Argonne National Laboratory that was carried out by Sun Trac Corp. The result was a solar concentrator that could capture sunlight. This light could have been scattered by pretty much everything- from haze to small atmospheric particles. The beam was then used in heating and cooling systems, as well as being converted into electricity.
Well, this is what it used to be back than- the super cool technology that could potentially transform the world. It did its job, definitely, only to then become the single most desired masterpiece in any room. Although the technology looks extremely different from what is produced nowadays, there are still things that remain the same- the Department of Energy is still funding creative clean energy projects, Sun Tarc Corp. is still growing strong, and the desire of scientists and engineers to carry out cutting-edge research and create and build incredible innovative technology is just as huge as ever.
Image (c) Department of Energy