Solar Dreams: a history of solar energy (1878 - 2025)

Although not an expert on any of the subjects I cover, I strive to do research about the different topics covered in this timeline. This sets limits to it that ultimately shape it into a more compelling story than just "Frenchman makes solar device, everything is better".

I resumed my research into the different subjects of this timeline to cover a few topics that will appear in the coming chapters. However, there's a complication that previously wasn't there:

It's becoming increasingly difficult to look for information on search engines. Google has made the first page of results effectively useless, and Bing gives slightly better results, but pushes heavily their dumb AI assistant (which I watched in dismay as it helpfully informed that the fusion heat of SilicON (Si) was the exact same as that of SilicA (SiO2)).

I am seriously considering buying physical books for reference in the future. The internet is becoming too unreliable, and I will need to learn how to comb for information without those two sites.
I know Wikipedia by itself isn’t the most reliable, but in my experience, it does a great job of linking to credible sources of information.
 
Although not an expert on any of the subjects I cover, I strive to do research about the different topics covered in this timeline. This sets limits to it that ultimately shape it into a more compelling story than just "Frenchman makes solar device, everything is better".

I resumed my research into the different subjects of this timeline to cover a few topics that will appear in the coming chapters. However, there's a complication that previously wasn't there:

It's becoming increasingly difficult to look for information on search engines. Google has made the first page of results effectively useless, and Bing gives slightly better results, but pushes heavily their dumb AI assistant (which I watched in dismay as it helpfully informed that the fusion heat of SilicON (Si) was the exact same as that of SilicA (SiO2)).

I am seriously considering buying physical books for reference in the future. The internet is becoming too unreliable, and I will need to learn how to comb for information without those two sites.
If you use uBlock Origin, you can use filtering to remove google's AI overviews like any other spam:

 
I am seriously considering buying physical books for reference in the future. The internet is becoming too unreliable, and I will need to learn how to comb for information without those two sites.
How’s your local library for subjects like we have been reading/discussing?
 
How’s your local library for subjects like we have been reading/discussing?

I haven't checked it out, but I'm currently living in a small-ish city in Southern Chile, so it's almost given that there's few information about the obscure topics discussed here. I think I'll just try my luck with different search engines until something sticks.

Those AI summaries are annoying. "We know you're a lazy fuck, so here's what an algorithm that can put a word in front of another wrote about that subject. It only costed a small lake worth's of water!"

Great timeline! Also, with reduced demand for oil, will the Middle East be more stable, without Western imperialism?

A bit too early to tell. Some places in the middle east will remain a valuable place due to its arid weather and high irradiance. But sunlight is in a weird spot, since it is a resource but not a commodity that can be exchanged.

On story related news, I've finished with the trajectories of the four new storylines that will appear in 1895. These deal with different aspects of the development of technology, so their protagonists will become recurring characters whose arcs and personalities are still being defined. Hopefully nothing too cliché will come from them.
I was talking with a friend about this today, and he had an interesting thought about if it might be possible to do low-tech sun tracking without digital logic. I found this example of a system using two solar panels to do 1-D sun-angle adjustment by essentially wiring them to subtract their generation--when pointed directly into (or, well, directly away from) the sun, the system reaches a point where no current reaches the DC control motor. If it's off angle, then one array generates more power, and drives the DC motor to move the system back into line--no computers, just pure analogue circuit logic. Apparently selenium photovoltaic cells were developed in the 1880s IOTL, but couldn't be produced cost effectively--however, it might be good enough to have a small system providing "master control angles" to drive a series of boiler-style devices. It'd be interesting because it'd be a useful commercial application for photovoltaic systems, so when silicon systems are developed, there might be more existing market and production technologies to allow them to get cost effective before they can scale to primary generation themselves.


I somehow missed this, but one of the earliest possible uses for these early photovoltaics is here. I don't think they'd have enough power to move heliostats on their own, but as you say they maybe could be used to control a valve which regulates the direction in which a pump works.

Anyways... next story should be one or two weeks away.
 
A bit too early to tell. Some places in the middle east will remain a valuable place due to its arid weather and high irradiance. But sunlight is in a weird spot, since it is a resource but not a commodity that can be exchanged.
From what I could tell, the big issue with the Middle East goes beyond petrol stuff. It's about self-perception. From an article I read awhile ago, there's this sort of collective "inferiority complex" a lot of the Middle East feels toward the west. They went from having this golden age of mighty and enlightened empires and are now the hasbeens while their old rivals who were once hasbeens are revitalizing. They want that success again. However, there is this sort of "indignation" that comes from trying to mimick or copy the westeners in doing so. They want to be the teachers, not the students. Hence why alot of them in OTL we see focus not just trying to be successful, but doing so without being "western secular republics." They wanna have their cake and eat it too. After all, they could back then, why not now? (ignoring the differing circumstances and how their forefathers were progressive and forward thinking.)

As such, massive reforms will have to come from within and realizing that they need to get their act together. There will be a growing divide between those for progress and the reactionaries who think they should remain the same and those who will try to combine one with the other or reject either for the sake of power and so on. Solar will definitely benefit them though without oil to serve as foreign influence, this may force them into introspection.
 
There is a political cartoon of "king coal" cowering from oil threatening his crown. If only there was a drawer here that could recreate the cartoon, but with all the new energy sources all fighting over his crown.
 
OIG2.l0J6z05xR.VhCh7RnhjQ

The Old King being ousted.

Closest thing I can get Bing to create right now...
 
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Although not an expert on any of the subjects I cover, I strive to do research about the different topics covered in this timeline. This sets limits to it that ultimately shape it into a more compelling story than just "Frenchman makes solar device, everything is better".

I resumed my research into the different subjects of this timeline to cover a few topics that will appear in the coming chapters. However, there's a complication that previously wasn't there:

It's becoming increasingly difficult to look for information on search engines. Google has made the first page of results effectively useless, and Bing gives slightly better results, but pushes heavily their dumb AI assistant (which I watched in dismay as it helpfully informed that the fusion heat of SilicON (Si) was the exact same as that of SilicA (SiO2)).

I am seriously considering buying physical books for reference in the future. The internet is becoming too unreliable, and I will need to learn how to comb for information without those two sites.
I like using operators in the Google search since it helps narrow the search down considerably without losing out on info if you know how to use them.
This site has a list, I use primarily "" and site:[www.domain.com]
https://ahrefs.com/blog/google-advanced-search-operators/

Also instead of buying books use archive.org to see if you can find a similar book online that you can download it's the same quality but more convenient.
 
Egypt looking to export cholera-preventing hot water heaters across the middle east as a way to gain influence. Fascinating, I love how interconnected things in this timeline are!
It didn't help that Jamal Al Afghani, the same man who a few years ago was talking against women in the workforce*
is that asterisk a typo or was there supposed to be a footnote here?
Although not an expert on any of the subjects I cover, I strive to do research about the different topics covered in this timeline. This sets limits to it that ultimately shape it into a more compelling story than just "Frenchman makes solar device, everything is better".

I resumed my research into the different subjects of this timeline to cover a few topics that will appear in the coming chapters. However, there's a complication that previously wasn't there:

It's becoming increasingly difficult to look for information on search engines. Google has made the first page of results effectively useless, and Bing gives slightly better results, but pushes heavily their dumb AI assistant (which I watched in dismay as it helpfully informed that the fusion heat of SilicON (Si) was the exact same as that of SilicA (SiO2)).

I am seriously considering buying physical books for reference in the future. The internet is becoming too unreliable, and I will need to learn how to comb for information without those two sites.
Damn. Seems that I am always hearing about Google getting less and less usable. Have other search engines like bing or duckduckgo been equally bad? I commend your efforts to push through for the sake of this timeline, I hope that even if the problem is insurmountable that the sources you've bookmarked already can keep the TL going for another couple in-story decades at least.
 
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