Who was “AKHENATEN”  


Who wasAKHENATEN”  and if he was Right,

                                  Right about what!!

   Some of you will know the answer  to this , and if       you  don’t,  it’s  a story well worth investigating

    in depth,  Put simply  AKHENATEN was

  Pharaoh of  Egypt from around 1320BC

   For the first 4 years of his reign he was known as  Amenhotep IV,  but then everything changed!   AKHENATEN”  abandoned the many traditional Egyptian Gods  in favour  of  “One God”                                             The sun disc “ The ATON” or  “The ATEN”                                                    

      He reasoned “What good are the other Gods if the sun disc “The ATON” stopped shining!       

                                                              What do “You” think?


Capture of the sun energy is nothing new. Our forefathers knew    very well the potential power the sun had to offer,  As early as    the  7th  Century BC  “ MAGNIFYING  GLASSES” are    being used to light Fires,  Many Greek and Roman religious   ceremonies  “Required”  the torches to be used in these gatherings  to be lit in this way.  

Around 212 BC in SYRACUSE the Greek scientist  “ARCHIMEDES” harnessed  the power of the sun to fend off the Romans.  Using  polished bronze shields he had the Greeks  focus the sun’s rays on the Roman ships intending to set fire to their wooden hulls .   

There is no evidence this worked but the Greek Navy had a go in 1974  and managed to set  fire to wooden boat at a distance of  50 metres!!   

The  Romans were well aware of the sun’s power, their  building’s designed with large, south facing  windows to take full advantage of the sun’s rays.

Later in the Empire the importance of the sun’s power  was recognised within the “JUSTINIAN  CODE”            “SUN RIGHTS” were initiated to protect individual   access to the sun.

History goes quiet for a time until in 1767  a Swiss scientist

 “HORACE  DE  SAUSSURE”   invented the “HOT BOX”     a Solar  collector  used to cook food  

There is some evidence however the Chinese and Indian cultures were doing this much earlier

1816 Scotsman “ROBERT STIRLING” applied for a patent on a heat engine using the sun’s thermal energy,  He called the engine  “THE ECONOMISER”

                       1839 a nineteen                          year old French                              scientist

 “ALEXANDRE  EDMOND  BECQUEREL” discovered the “Photovoltaic Effect” the process that converts sunlight to electricity.                         

            1860 French mathematician                  “AUGUST MOUCHET”                   constructs  the first solar powered  engines,  along with his assistant “ABEL PIFRE” the Industrial  Revolution overlooked this important  addition probably  because of the abundance of cheap coal to power                                           the Steam Engine

                 1876 The Granddaddy to the modern Solar  Cell was               given to us by “WILLIAM GRYLLS ADAMS”               and “RICHARD DAY EVANS” with the               “SELENIUM” cell.  

The Photoconductivity of Selenium was discovered by “WILLOUGHBY SMITH” in  1873

The SELENIUM Cell proved it was possible to convert Sunlight into  Electricity without Heat or any Moving Parts.  

1883 American “CHARLES  FRITZ”  created what has become recognised as the worlds First Solar Cell,  made with GOLD and SELENIUM Wafers,  These were used in Cameras as Light Sensors up until the  1960’s .

1891  The First  Commercially  Available  “Solar Water Heater”  is patented by Baltimore Inventor “CLARENCE  KEMP”.

1905 “ALBERT  EINSTEIN”     Publishes  a Paper on the “Photoelectric Effect”  along with a Paper on “Theory of Relativity”.

This gives the “Nod”  to the Scientific Community on the Potential of Solar Energy Production.

1921 “ALBERT  EINSTEIN”  wins  “Nobel Peace Prize”  for his Paper on the  “Photoelectric Effect” .

1946  “RUSSELL  SHOEMAKER  OHL”  Patents what is considered the First Modern Solar Cell.  He also discovered the P-N barrier in silicon in 1940 while working at “BELL  LABS”  U.S.A.  All diodes (incl. LEDs, laser diodes etc) are descendants of Ohl's work. His work with diodes led him later to develop the first silicon solar cells.

1954 “DARLY CHAPLIN,  CALVIN  FULLER,  and  GERALD  PEARSON”  Work together to Create the “SILICON” PV (Photovoltaic)  Cell at  “BELL LABS”  U.S.A. This was the First Solar Cell to be Efficient Enough for Practical Power Generation.

The “COLD  WAR”  was Hotting Up and the Race was On to Produce New Power Sources for Various Devices, In Particularly “Satellites”.

The US Government Poured bucket loads of Money into Developing the PV Cell and things Moved On Rapidly.    

For the rest of this “Timeline” we will Concentrate on the “Big Steps” in       Solar  History rather than the “Many” (though no less important)                                                   “Smaller  Ones”

1955 The Worlds First Solar Heated Commercial       Office Building  is Designed by Architect                      “FRANK BRIDGERS”.                        

the “BRIDGERS-PAXTON” Building’s Passive Solar Water Heating System has been Continuously operating Right up to Today!!!

1958 Space Satellites “VANGUARD 1,  VANGUARD 11, EXPLORER 111, and the Russian SPUTNIK 3” were Launched All with Silicon Solar Cell’s Powering some of their Circuits 1959 More Satellites Launched,         “EXPLORER V1, EXPLORER V11”                  

The “EXPLORER V 11 Boasted a Solar Array of 9600 (1cmx2cm) Cell’s

1963  JAPAN  Builds the Worlds Largest Photovoltaic  Array (242 watts) to Power a Lighthouse on the island of Ogami.                         The System is Still in Operation Today.

1969 a 8-Story Parabolic Mirror Constructed in                             France to Power                                  “The ODEILLO SOLAR FURNACE”

1901 Nikola Tesla described the Photoelectric Effect. On November 5, 1901, he received the patent that describes radiation charging and discharging conductors (e.g., a metal plate or piece of mica) by "radiant energy". Tesla used this effect to charge a Capacitor with Energy by means of a Conductive plate, which was a Solar Cell precursor



1970's - 1980's

Advances in Solar Generation continued apace threw out the 1970's and the 1980's mainly driven by the “Russians” and the “Americans” engaged in the “Space Race “     

1981 The worlds first Solar powered aircraft crosses the Channel.

“The Solar Challenger” flew from France to England using 3000 Watts of power produced from over 1600 Solar Cells in cooperated in its wings.

1982 The worlds first Solar powered Car travels from Sydney to Perth (Australia)  a distance of over 2700 miles, Australian “Hans Tholstrup” made the trip in the car called “The Quiet Achiever” in  just 20 days.

1998 A unmanned, Solar Aircraft named “Pathfinder” claims the altitude Record for a propeller  driven aircraft   

Over 80,000 feet !

2001 NASA’s Solar powered aircraft “Helios” goes even higher, 96,863 feet, over 18 miles high

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