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Video: Solar Architects Through History: From Roman Baths to Today’s Solar Hot Water

One of the first books on solar energy that I ever read was A Golden Thread: 2500 YearsThe Golden Thread Book of Solar Architecture and Technology by John Perlin. Below, Perlin is interviewed about the (ancient) history of solar hot water and discusses its current presence around the world and the industry’s growth potential of California’s CSI Thermal program.

I also enjoyed this video for showing some old commercial solar hot water images from 1891 and the mid-20th century. Perlin’s narration takes us through the expansion of solar thermal from the U.S. to how it became common around the world in China, Austria, Germany, Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel.

Perlin also tries to answer why the United States is so behind on solar water heating installations compared to the rest of the world. His short answer… government mandates.

If you’re into solar thermal history or just want to show people how solar hot water has existed for 2500 years, this video is worth the 20 minute viewing time. Have a look:


 That’s the history of solar thermal, but if you’re interested in today’s solar thermal engineering and products, contact one of the solar thermal designers and engineers at Free Hot Water. 

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