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Running Head: COMPLETELY CONVERTING TO SOLAR POWER 1 Completely Converting to Solar Power Justin Hughes Southern New Hampshire University Natural Resources
COMPLETELY CONVERTING TO SOLAR POWER 2 Completely Converting to Solar Power Introduction Over the next couple of years, I would like to completely convert my home to run entirely off solar energy. Included in this change over I would like to remove the use of gasoline in the cars, motorcycles, and even lawn mowers used on this property. In making this change there are some tough decisions that must be made. One is whether or not the house will be kept on grid or off. Also, a consideration must be made for things that do not have electrical counterparts, like grills. My ultimate goal by making this change is to bring my overall global carbon footprint to 1.7 hectares, the amount that each person would be allotted based on our current world population. History Before we begin creating our solar powered home we should understand where this technology originated. The origin of solar power is dependent on how solar power is defined. It has been shown that as early as the 7 th century B.C. both the Greeks and the Romans harnessed the sun’s rays to light torches for some of their religious ceremonies (Turner, n.d.). Also in the 2 nd century B.C., Archimedes used bronze shields that focused the light from the sun on Roman war ships to set the attacking ships ablaze (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.). Although there is no proof this event occurred, modern experiments suggest it was possible. It wasn’t until 1767 that the next big innovation in using the sun to do work was created. This is when Swiss environmentalist Horace-Benedict de Saussure made a solar collector. It consisted of an insulated black pine box inside of three glass boxes. The sun’s rays entered the collector through the glass boxes and converted to heat when they hit the black box. The glass
COMPLETELY CONVERTING TO SOLAR POWER 3 boxes then trapped the heat inside the collector. This raised the temperature inside the collector to 2300 O F, 1100 O C (Turner, n.d.). In 1830 British astronomer Sir John Herschel realized that he could use this invention to cook food (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.). This marked an important time in history. This is when we started using the energy sent by the sun to do something that fire would have otherwise been required to do. However, none of these uses or inventions give us any information on the history of solar panels, or converting energy from the sun to electricity. That started around 1839 when French physicist Edmond Becquerel “discovered the photovoltaic effect” (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.). Becquerel was conducting an experiment with two metal electrodes submerged in a solution known to conduct electricity. He observed that the system produced more electricity when it was exposed to sunlight. This is the first known example of humans using the sun to create electricity.

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