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Frank Schumann built the world's first solar power plant

Frank Schumann built the world's first solar power plant

On a sweltering day in June 1913, something happened in Egypt that could change the world.

On that day, inventor Frank Schumann opened the taps of an entirely new system. The installation consisted of long rows of parabolic collectors made of glass and steel from which he wanted to generate solar energy.

The light reflected from the solar collectors was so bright that spectators had to close their eyes. When Frank Schumann turned on the system, a huge steam engine hissed loudly.

The audience was amazed to see the machine suddenly start spraying water over the parched landscape at a speed of more than 22,000 liters per minute – powered entirely by solar energy.

For Frank Schumann, this was the result of seven years of hard work. He wanted to convince the world that solar energy was cheaper and better than coal and oil.

He warned: “Man must start using solar energy, otherwise we will return to barbarism.”

According to Schumann, if just 1% of the energy the Sahara receives from the sun were converted into electricity, that would be enough to power the entire world.

His mission was almost a success, and if it had been, the world would be a very different place today.

Read here why solar energy, despite its enormous potential, has not become the most important source of energy.

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