"This comprehensive , pioneering book places solar energy today in a rich historical context. Beginning with the passive solar designs of fifth-century Greece, through the solar-powered steam engines of 19th century America, and on to the new revolution in solar-inspired architecture, [the authors]provide the reader with an amazing story. A Golden Thread is must reading for anyone serious about the real potential for the sun's energy & its place in our history & future." (Wilson Clark, from the back cover)
This history of solar energy could not be better. The authors lead us from the early days of solar architecture in Greece and Rome to the mid20th century. Excellent choice of material, clear discussions and good use of images. Should be required reading for all politicians. Needs to be updated to include more on passive solar developments beginning in the 1970s and the transformation of the photovoltaic industry as true cost accounting became more prevalent in Europe.
Really well done! Despite being written in the 1970s and me reading it 2015, the Foreword and most material in the book is still relevant for today. Saddening how cyclical interest in solar is for the general public, but it was cool to see innovations traced through the years and even across countries. I would love a followup with more focus on non-US solar history (but maybe this exists already?).
I'm always drawn to engineering/science history. It really shows our silly cycle of dropping promising solar tech every time gas/coal prices drop. I wish good ideas were more influential than temporary economic incentives in selecting the winning technologies.
Re-released with expanded content under the title 'Let it shine', this book is a good historical survey of solar technologies ranging from hotboxes and greenhouses to reflecting dishes, solar hot water collectors and photovoltaics.