South Pasadena had solar-powered energy since the turn of the century -- the last century. And it was all due to a meeting of minds between inventor Audrey Eneas and Edwin Cawston, the latter the founder of the Cawston Ostrich Farm.
Cawston's amusement park needed water. Eneas needed money. And Eneas had invented a device to collect sunlight and generate power; power that could pump water from the Cawston-owned wells. The device wasn't portable, though; it was huge, six stories-tall huge. And due to both its size and capabilities, became an attraction in its own right.
Here's the rest of the story, from LA Times, Then and Now.