Solar Futures: The View from 1973

The history of solar energy is full of lofty goals or aims that were not realized.  Here's an example from 1973:

"Although the sun is the indirect source of all fossil fuels, it has been neglected as a direct source of power. Yet the potential is tremendous: The energy in the sunlight falling on the surface of Lake Erie in a single day is greater than the entire nation's present annual energy consumption.

In recommending a large research effort in solar energy, a joint panel of the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration reported last December that by the year 2020 the sun could provide 35 per cent of heating and cooling in buildings, 30 per cent of the nation’s gaseous fuels and 20 per cent of its electricity."

---New York Times, April 18, 1973

(The "large research effort" never occurred, and solar energy currently accounts for 0.32% of US energy use according to Lawrence Livermore National Lab, although I do not believe this figure includes passive solar heating --- see The Clothesline Paradox.)