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"The point sticks in your head: physics rules. Virtue does not triumph unless the physics allows it."
- Larry Niven

Solar Power Screen  
  Absorb all solar energy, and emit electrical energy.  

The dream of solar power!

"Cheer up, Baby Face. We doped out a screen that would vibrate only in the band of visible light; I guess we can dope out another that will be atonic - one that will vibrate to any wave length. Then it will soak up any radiant energy that hits it, and give it up again as electrical power. With this roof surface we can get maybe a thousand horsepower at high noon. Then we'll have to set up banks of storage batteries so that we can store power for cloudy days and night shifts."
From Let There Be Light, by Lyle Monroe.
Published by Super Science Stories in 1940
Additional resources -

A. Bertram Chandler adds to this idea in his 1958 story Unknown:

He left the Grants, the Tollivers and Susan Weldon to set up the other tents; he, aided by Gladen, busied himself with the solar power screen. This was not arduous work the only part of the job that made any real demands upon his energy was the adjustment of it so that it would drag the maximum power output from the westering sun. Once this was done the efficient, almost intelligent little azimuth motor would keep the screen on the most advantageous bearing until sunset. By that time, Kennedy hoped, there would be enough power stored in the batteries to suffice for cooking of the evening meal and for lights during the hours of darkness.

Compare to the solar reception screen from The Roads Must Roll (1940) by Robert Heinlein and the sunpower screen from Coventry (1940), also by Heinlein.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Let There Be Light
  More Ideas and Technology by Lyle Monroe
  Tech news articles related to Let There Be Light
  Tech news articles related to works by Lyle Monroe

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