Solar Thermal Energy

By: Kali O'Shields, Kaitlyn Bullard, and Isaac Hampton

Process with in Power Plant

Solar thermal power plants use the sun's rays to heat a fluid to high temperatures. The fluid then goes through the pipes so that it can transfer its heat to water and produce steam. The steam is converted into mechanical energy in a turbine, which powers a generator to produce electricity.


The cost would be around $10,000 to $32,000 for solar power.


Solar power panels need sun to work, so if the sun is blocked then the solar panels won't work. Things that might cause that is Shade and clouds. It also wouldn't work at night because the sun isn't out and only the moon is.


7th cent. BC-- Magnifying glass to burn wood

3rd cent. BC-- Light torches

2nd cent. BC-- Wooden ships of an enemy's boat on fire

20th cent. AD-- Light torches for religion

1st-4th cent. AD-- Large windows for warmth

6th cent. AD-- Individual sun access or "sun rights"

1200's AD-- Winter sun cliff dwellings for warmth

1767-- Scientist Horace de Saussure created "cooking food" during expedition

1816-- Robert Starling built heat engines

1839-- Edmond Bequerel discovered photo voltaic effect

1860-- Solar power steam engines August Mouchet

1873-- Willoughby Smith photo conductivity of selium


As early as 7th century BC and over 100 years ago in France.


People used magnifying glass to concentrate the sun beams to cause wood to catch fire. A scientist used heat from solar collector to make steam to drive a steam engine.

Milestones in Solar Thermal Energy

1904-- Hallwach discovered a combination of copper and cuprous oxide is photosensitive.

1905-- Einstein published paper on photoelectric effect.

1908-- Bailley invents a solar collector.

1914-- Existence of a barrier layer in photo-voltaic devices was noted.

1916-- Millikan provided experimental proof of photoelectric effect.

1918-- Czochralski developed ways to grow single-crystal silicon.

1947-- Passive solar buildings in the US were in demand.

Mid 1950's-- First office building using solar water heating.

1959-- Two satellites are launched.

1962-- Bell telephone launches first communication satellite.