It was described by Nikola Tesla in his article
“The problem of increasing human energy” with special references to the harnessing of the Sun’s energy by Nikola Tesla, Century Illustrated Magazine, June 1900
Complete article available e.g. here
And most important part is “A Departure from known methods – possibility of a “self-acting” engine or machine, inanimate, yet capable, like a living being, of deriving energy from the medium – The ideal way of obtaining motive power.”
Amazingly very small attention was paid to this principle.