When the solar-energy movement got its day in the sun in SF


Guy Armantrout, a scientist at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, uses this solar surrey in 1978 to test the reliability of various solar cells.

Guy Armantrout, a scientist at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, uses this solar surrey in 1978 to test the reliability of various solar cells.


An April 28, 1978, San Francisco Chronicle article previewed the upcoming Sun Day speakers, solar demonstrations and festivities.

An April 28, 1978, San Francisco Chronicle article previewed the upcoming Sun Day speakers, solar demonstrations and festivities.


An artist’s conception in 1977 of an experimental solar energy power plant planned for construction in the Mojave Desert.

An artist’s conception in 1977 of an experimental solar energy power plant planned for construction in the Mojave Desert.


An experimental cooking surface, powered by solar energy, is displayed at the Sun Fair at Fort Mason, April 30, 1978.

An experimental cooking surface, powered by solar energy, is displayed at the Sun Fair at Fort Mason, April 30, 1978.


Photo: Susan Ehmer, The Chronicle

A heliostat was on display for Sun Day festivities at Fort Mason’s Solar Fest.

A heliostat was on display for Sun Day festivities at Fort Mason’s Solar Fest.


Photo: John Storey, The Chronicle

Balloons added to the celebratory feel at Solar Fest in San Francisco, marking the nation’s first Sun Day.

Balloons added to the celebratory feel at Solar Fest in San Francisco, marking the nation’s first Sun Day.


Photo: John Storey, The Chronicle

The Solar Fest at Fort Mason featured a variety of solar devices and collectors demonstrating the potential of solar energy.

The Solar Fest at Fort Mason featured a variety of solar devices and collectors demonstrating the potential of solar energy.


Photo: John Storey, The Chronicle

A 42-inch diameter acrylic “solardyne,” or sun-ray magnifying lens, was one of the display items at the Fort Mason solar fair.

A 42-inch diameter acrylic “solardyne,” or sun-ray magnifying lens, was one of the display items at the Fort Mason solar fair.


Photo: John Storey, The Chronicle

The earliest solar energy photo from The Chronicle’s archives shows Charles G. Abbot, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, demonstrating his solar heat collector for delegates at the Third World Power Conference on Sept. 8, 1936. less
The earliest solar energy photo from The Chronicle’s archives shows Charles G. Abbot, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, demonstrating his solar heat collector for delegates at the Third World Power … more


A May 3, 1978, Chronicle article previews speakers and solar energy demonstrations for Sun Day, a grass-roots effort that became a mini-movement trying to push political and government change on solar power.

A May 3, 1978, Chronicle article previews speakers and solar energy demonstrations for Sun Day, a grass-roots effort that became a mini-movement trying to push political and government change on solar power.


A 1957 photo shows a drawing of a solar device proposed for a New Mexico Air Force base, with a 147-foot-high mirror designed to collect solar rays and create temperatures of more than 7,000 degrees.

A 1957 photo shows a drawing of a solar device proposed for a New Mexico Air Force base, with a 147-foot-high mirror designed to collect solar rays and create temperatures of more than 7,000 degrees.


Mechanics check an Italian solar engine at the world’s first fair devoted to machines using sun power, Oct. 25, 1958. Thirty had been manufactured by then, mostly for use in Africa.

Mechanics check an Italian solar engine at the world’s first fair devoted to machines using sun power, Oct. 25, 1958. Thirty had been manufactured by then, mostly for use in Africa.


A May 4, 1978, Chronicle article on the Sun Day festivities, which included a sunrise ceremony atop Twin Peaks.

A May 4, 1978, Chronicle article on the Sun Day festivities, which included a sunrise ceremony atop Twin Peaks.


Activist actress Jane Fonda speaks at the 1978 Sun Day in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, one of three Bay Area events promoting solar energy.

Activist actress Jane Fonda speaks at the 1978 Sun Day in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, one of three Bay Area events promoting solar energy.


Photo: Susan Ehmer, The Chronicle

In her Sun Day speech at UC Berkeley, Jane Fonda urged a “mass movement to prevent solar energy from being taken over by the same monopolies that control our energy now.”

In her Sun Day speech at UC Berkeley, Jane Fonda urged a “mass movement to prevent solar energy from being taken over by the same monopolies that control our energy now.”


Photo: Susan Ehmer, The Chronicle

A solar cooker was on display at the festivities related to Sun Day in San Francisco.

A solar cooker was on display at the festivities related to Sun Day in San Francisco.


Photo: Susan Ehmer, The Chronicle

People gather at Fort Mason to for the solar fair ahead of Sun Day, proclaimed by President Jimmy Carter and Congress for May 3, 1978, to focus attention on solar energy.

People gather at Fort Mason to for the solar fair ahead of Sun Day, proclaimed by President Jimmy Carter and Congress for May 3, 1978, to focus attention on solar energy.


Photo: John Storey, The Chronicle

Two men appear to be struggling to get peak power at the solar fair at Fort Mason.

Two men appear to be struggling to get peak power at the solar fair at Fort Mason.


Photo: John Storey, The Chronicle

People gather for Sun Day in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, marking the May 3, 1978, event to call attention to the potential of solar power.

People gather for Sun Day in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, marking the May 3, 1978, event to call attention to the potential of solar power.


Photo: John Storey, The Chronicle

A solarmobile, said to be Europe’s first solar-powered vehicle, had solar cells atop the tricycle which could drive as long as the sun shone. The test cycle was shown at a solar energy fair in Sasbach at the Kaiserstuhl, June 5, 1978. less
A solarmobile, said to be Europe’s first solar-powered vehicle, had solar cells atop the tricycle which could drive as long as the sun shone. The test cycle was shown at a solar energy fair in Sasbach at the … more


California’s first solar energy heating system was located near Fresno — a half-acre solar collector field gathering heat to be stored in a silo filled with 1.4 million pounds of stones. PG&E sponsored an open house at the ranch on May 3, 1978. less
California’s first solar energy heating system was located near Fresno — a half-acre solar collector field gathering heat to be stored in a silo filled with 1.4 million pounds of stones. PG&E sponsored an … more


President Jimmy Carter flew to Golden, Colo., to commemorate Sun Day on May 3, 1978. He stands in front of a parabolic solar reflector, but his speech was cut short because of rain.

President Jimmy Carter flew to Golden, Colo., to commemorate Sun Day on May 3, 1978. He stands in front of a parabolic solar reflector, but his speech was cut short because of rain.


The 42-inch-diameter acrylic “solardyne,” a sun-ray magnifying lens, was shown at the Fort Mason Solar Fair, April 30, 1978.

The 42-inch-diameter acrylic “solardyne,” a sun-ray magnifying lens, was shown at the Fort Mason Solar Fair, April 30, 1978.


Photo: John Storey, San Francisco Chronicle

President Jimmy Carter held a press conference on the roof of the White House to dedicate a newly installed solar heating system June 20, 1979.

President Jimmy Carter held a press conference on the roof of the White House to dedicate a newly installed solar heating system June 20, 1979.


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8 August 2017 12:00 pm
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