March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women and their accomplishments. There are many women who have been pivotal to the solar industry. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Here are just a few contributions women in history have made to solar energy.
Realizing the sun’s potential
Maria Telkes (1900-1995) was dubbed the Sun Queen because she was one of the first who realized the sun’s potential for renewable energy. She built the “Dover Sun House,” a home in Dover, Massachusetts with over 18 windows surrounding the second story. Behind these windows, she placed panels of glass and metal she built to capture the sun’s rays. She insulated the home with salt to contain the sun’s warmth. This was the first functional, solar-heated home! She later invented an emergency desalination kit, powered by solar to make seawater drinkable during WWII. Telkes also created a device to cool and store air in a solar air conditioner. Over the course of her life she held 20 patents, the majority of which were in solar technology.
Enhancing and water-proofing solar panels
Katharine Burr Blodgett (1898-1979) was a physicist and chemist and the first female scientist hired by the General Electric Research Laboratories. She worked with Dr. Irving Langmuir to improve existing glass by making it so thin that she had to invent a method of measuring its thickness. Her glass was made up of 35,000 monolayers, equal to the thickness of the paper. This glass is now used to make solar panels more efficient and water repellent. It enhances electric conductivity. The scientist would go on to make other discoveries in other fields.
Developing battery technology
Annie Easly (1933-2011) worked for the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) before it became NASA. As a computer and rocket scientist, she created a code to solve energy problems in outer space and on Earth. She also worked on solar and wind renewable energy projects. Her work would later be used for creating the first modern batteries for hybrid cars. Olga Gonzalez-Sanabria (1970-present) is a chemical engineer who worked on developing the long cycle-life nickel hydrogen batteries to power the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA. Thanks to her batteries, the ISS can remain in constant power and can continue solar and battery power research from space.
Freedom Forever Celebrates Women
We believe that we wouldn’t be where we are today without the contributions of women to energy technology. We thank past, present, and future female leaders who pave the way for solar. If you would like to work for a company that celebrates and encourages female leadership in the solar industry, we would love to hear from you. Explore open positions at Freedom Forever and be part of our family.