“6,000 Years of Solar” is a series about the history of solar energy technology drawn from John Perlin’s new book Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy. The series profiles the fascinating people, from ancient Greece and China to late 19th century New York to today, who have made the present day solar revolution possible.
John Perlin is an analyst in the physics department of the University of California, Santa Barbara and is a former CEC Staffer. He oversees solar installations at the university, and he writes, speaks, and lectures about solar energy.
The French mathematician Joseph Fourier in the early nineteen hundreds modeled global warming with the solar hot box built by Horace de Saussure almost a century earlier. The solar hot box consisted of a well-insulated box with the top covered by layers of glass. When exposed to the sun, Saussure obtained temperatures inside the box exceeding 240 degrees Fahrenheit (116 degrees Celsius).