Yes, we are here!

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-234-3368 or by email. Stay safe!

A History of Solar Water Heating

Greg Pahl shares a history of solar water heating, including when the first solar water heater was patented, when solar heating hit the mainstream market and the downfall and resurgence of the solar industry.

| October/November 2003

  • The history of solar water heating is varied, with solar energy currently finding a resurgence in America.
    The history of solar water heating is varied, with solar energy currently finding a resurgence in America.

  • The history of solar water heating is varied, with solar energy currently finding a resurgence in America.

Learn about the history of solar water heating in the U.S.

A History of Solar Water Heating

The first commercial solar water heater was patented in 1891; within five years, about 30 percent of the homes in Pasadena, California, had solar domestic hot water systems installed.

Although the solar hot water heating industry had spread to Florida by the 1930s, copper shortages during World War II (coupled with economic incentives offered by electric companies to switch to their hot water heaters) crippled the burgeoning solar hot water industry.

It was almost more than a half century later when solar hit the mainstream market again, revitalized by the OPEC oil embargo and skyrocketing fossil fuel prices. Federal and state tax credits of the early 1980s for renewable energy systems gave the solar industry a major, if short-lived, boost. Almost overnight, a huge number of companies sprang up all across the nation to serve a seemingly insatiable demand for a wide array of solar installations. Then, in 1986, the Reagan Administration pulled the plug on solar incentives.

"It almost entirely killed the industry and stopped virtually all [renewable energy] technological development in this country," says Christel Bieri, the vice president of marketing at Heliodyne, Inc., in Richmond, California. Heliodyne was one of a handful of U.S. solar manufacturers that survived the industry crash.

Today, motivated by consumer demand for environmentally friendly and economically sound technologies, the solar industry is witnessing what many hope will be a full-fledged energy revolution — a switch from a fossil-fuel based economy to a one powered by the sun, wind and water.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me