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History of Solar Energy

History of Solar Energy


The History of Solar Energy

Beginning in 1839, Edmond Becquerel created the world’s first photovoltaic cell. He placed silver chloride in an acidic solution and illuminated while connected to platinum electrodes, generating voltage and current.

In 1876, William Grylls Adams and Richard Day observed that when selenium was exposed to light, a phenomenon occurred and it generated electricity. Selenium was not very effective, giving a low efficiency for the electricity generated. However, it proved that light without mechanical moving parts or heat, could be converted into electricity.

In 1953, Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson, and Daryl Chapin, discovered the silicon solar cell. This cell produced enough electricity and was efficient enough to run small electrical devices.

In 1956, the first commercially available solar cell is produced at a price of $300 for a 1 watt solar cell. The price per watt was ineffective for mass production, although this did lead way for the first solar cells to be used in toys and radios.

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In the early 1960's satellites in the USA's and Soviet's space program were powered by solar cells and in the late 1960's solar power had become the standard for powering space bound satellites.

In the early 1970's a way to lower to cost of solar cells was discovered. This brought the price down from $100 per watt to around $20 per watt.

From the 1970's to the 1990's solar saw quite a change in the usage of solar cells. Solar energy began showing up on railroad crossings, in remote places to power homes, desert regions, and other countries.

Today, solar has become viable and a cost-effective option for residential, commercial, and utility-scale systems in most regions across the globe. Solar has now been utilized on homes, cars, aircrafts, and a variety of other applications.

Moving forward, the new development of technology has made way for screen printed solar cells, solar fabric that can be used to side a house, and solar shingles that install on our roofs, to name a few. Global markets have expanded and solar manufacturers are now playing a key role in the solar power industry.

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How Solar Cells Work >>


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