The way the sun shines… renewable energy gets the attention of the Rockefeller’s

The way the sun shines… renewable energy gets the attention of the Rockefeller’s
2 years, 11 months ago 0
Posted in: News Articles


I remember a particular segment of the Captain Kangaroo show I was watching as a young girl. The guest on the show had a disk about the size of a silver dollar which he had affixed to the top of a remote controlled toy car. Ok, Captain Kangaroo and silver dollar… you do the age math. Anyway, they were running an experiment to show that by allowing the sun to shine on the disk there was enough energy created to run the toy car. When they blocked the sun the car stopped, when they removed the block it took off again, holy cow! The show left a lasting impression, I was convinced that by the time I had my driver’s license, cars would be powered by the sun. I also thought they would hover, and have large inflated tubes surrounding them to eliminate the effects of running into each other…

Some history on solar power and oil: Photovoltaic effect, the conductivity resulting from the build-up of charge between two electrodes under direct sunlight, was first noted by French physicist Becquerel in 1839. Although some experiments had attempted to harness the tiny charges that could be harnessed, using primitive strips of selenium bound with gold connectors, they barely produced enough wattage to make the needle move on a meter.

As late as 1905 Albert Einstein had established the physical properties of Photoelectric Effect, but the technology simply did not exist to support his theories. It would take until 1954 for Bell Laboratories to come up with a workable selenium cell designed to produce a constant charge.

Simultaneously, the Rockefeller’s were making their name synonymous with oil and wealth founding Standard Oil in 1870, just 31 years after Becquerel noted the PV effect.  And of course we know of the oil industry as directed by the family patriarch, John D.

But the times they are a-changin’.  Rockefeller’s descendants, through the family philanthropy the Rockefeller Brothers fund, are dumping the endowment’s investments in the oil business and reinvesting at least a portion of that wealth into renewable energy. And the Rockefeller fund is not the only big name fund divesting away from coal, oil, and gas and into renewable energy as part of a broader push to battle climate change and promote economic and energy sustainability. It’s really just a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the global energy trade of a $5 trillion a year business, but it’s a real start to having the attention of the big money energy players and moving global energy business toward the transformation to sustainable energy as the primary global energy source. Holy cow!

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