Let it Shine

Let it Shine : The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy

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Even as concern over climate change and energy security fuel a boom in solar technology, many still think of solar as a twentieth-century wonder. Few realize that the first photovoltaic array appeared on a New York City rooftop in 1884, or that brilliant engineers in France were using solar power in the 1860s to run steam engines, or that in 1901 an ostrich farmer in Southern California used a single solar engine to irrigate three hundred acres of citrus trees. Fewer still know that Leonardo da Vinci planned to make his fortune by building half-mile-long mirrors to heat water, or that the Bronze Age Chinese used hand-sized solar-concentrating mirrors to light fires the way we use matches and lighters today. With thirteen new chapters, "Let It Shine" is a fully revised and expanded edition of "A Golden Thread," Perlin's classic history of solar technology, detailing the past forty years of technological developments driving today's solar renaissance. This unique and compelling compendium of humankind's solar ideas tells the fascinating story of how our predecessors throughout time, again and again, have applied the sun to better their lives -- and how we can too.

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  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 40.64mm | 861.82g
  • Novato, CAUnited States
  • English
  • Revised
  • Revised ed.
  • 324 Black and White Illustrations
  • 1608681327
  • 9781608681327
  • 526,789

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Review quote

""Let It Shine" is the solar bible. Thank you, John Perlin!" -- Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute "John Perlin is "the" historian of solar energy. He now takes the history back thousands of years to early Chinese architecture and the "yang-sui," the little bronze mirrors boys used to start the family fire, to nineteenth-century inventors who feared that coal supplies were about to run out, to modern passive solar buildings and today's falling costs and growing use of photovoltaics. He does all this with a penchant for the diverse characters along the journey and with remarkable illustrations that vividly capture the six-thousand-year story of solar energy." -- Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World" and "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power" "With remarkable depth, breadth, and precision, John Perlin lays out humankind's long reliance on the sun before the carbon era and points the way to a healthy, comfortable, productive, resilient solar-powered world. There is more intelligence and common sense in this volume than in all the federal reports on energy of the last quarter-century combined." -- Denis Hayes, former director of the federal Solar Energy Research Institute and founder of the Earth Day Network "The authoritative background story behind the worldwide solar revolution, "Let It Shine" is a story of human ingenuity and perseverance told with clarity and depth. The next chapter is ours to write." -- David W. Orr, professor of environmental studies and politics at Oberlin College and author of "Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse" ""Let It Shine" makes it abundantly clear that solar energy has a long and glorious past -- a prologue, in fact -- that is as bright and diverse as its future will be. Far from being a disruption of the current energy economy, solar power can be harnessed in thousands of way

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About John Perlin

An international expert on solar energy and forestry, John Perlin has lectured extensively on these topics in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Perlin is the author of "A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization" as well as "From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity." Perlin mentors those involved in realizing photovoltaic, solar hot-water, and energy-efficiency technologies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and coordinates the California Space Grant Consortium as a member of UCSB's department of physics.

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