Its history stretches back to the 7th century B, C. We started by concentrating the heat of the sun with glass and mirrors to light fires. Today, we have everything from buildings that run on solar energy to vehicles that run on solar energy. While solar energy has found a dynamic and established role in today's clean energy economy, there is a long history behind photovoltaics (PV) that brought the concept of solar energy to fruition.
With the way the cost of solar energy has plummeted over the past decade, it's easy to forget that solar energy had a completely different meaning even just 15 years ago. Let's go back a few centuries to the origins of solar photovoltaics and explore the history of solar energy and silicon solar technology. In theory, solar energy was used by humans as early as the 7th century a. C.
When history tells us that humans used sunlight to light fires with magnifying glass materials. Later, in the 3rd century B, C. These mirrors became a standard tool known as “burning mirrors”. Chinese civilization documented the use of mirrors for the same purpose later in 20 A, D.
In the late 1700s and 1800s, researchers and scientists managed to use sunlight to power the ovens on long journeys. They also harnessed the power of the sun to produce steamships powered by solar energy. Ultimately, it is clear that even thousands of years before the era of solar panels, the concept of manipulating the energy of the sun was a common practice. The development of solar panel technology was iterative and required a series of contributions from several scientists.
Naturally, there is some debate about when exactly they were created and to whom credit should be attributed for the invention. Some people attribute the invention of the solar cell to French scientist Edmond Becquerel, who determined that light could increase electricity generation when two metal electrodes were placed in a conductive solution. This advance, defined as the “photovoltaic effect”, influenced later photovoltaic developments with the element selenium. In 1873, Willoughby Smith discovered that selenium had photoconductive potential, leading to the discovery by William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day in 1876 that selenium creates electricity when exposed to sunlight.
A few years later, in 1883, Charles Fritts produced the first solar cells made of selenium wafers, which is why some historians attribute to Fritts the actual invention of solar cells. Please, from which textbook can I find this information or if I want to use this reference, what reference can I use? Save my name, email and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Enter your zip code to see solar energy quotes near you See solar energy prices from qualified local businesses. Enter your zip code to find out how much solar panels cost from installers near you.
Don't worry about climate change, do something about it. Our clean energy plans are the easiest way to reduce your home's carbon footprint. If you want to be pedantic, you can say that solar energy was discovered by very old bacteria. The sun has been the driving force of all life on Earth since the first microbes developed the capacity for photosynthesis, some 2.3 billion years ago.
Ironically, this led to a devastating environmental catastrophe known as the Great Oxygenation Event1, caused by the emission of oxygen gas as a by-product of photosynthesis. While these early solar-powered organisms caused mass extinction, today's solar energy could be the key to averting a planetary crisis. In 1883, American inventor Charles Fritz created the first working selenium solar cell. In 1888, a Russian scientist named Aleksandr Stoletov built and patented the first true solar cell.
In 1891, Baltimore inventor Clarence Kemp patented the first commercial solar water heater. In 1905, solar energy came into the global spotlight when famed physicist Albert Einstein published an article on the photoelectric effect and how light packages carry energy. At that stage, solar cells were still suitable for use in space, and in 1958, the Vanguard 1 spacecraft used solar energy as a backup power source. A year later, a solar cell with 10% efficiency was developed, but it still had little use outside of spaceflight.
In the early 1970s, there was a surge of renewed interest in the potential of solar energy as a renewable source of electricity. Today, photovoltaic cells have about 15%. This means that 85% of the light they receive is not converted into usable electricity. Scientists are continually experimenting with new technologies that can increase efficiency and make solar panels more effective.
New developments, such as light-sensitive nanoparticles and gallium arsenide, could capture sunlight more efficiently than existing photovoltaic cells, and advances in solar energy storage technology are also being developed. Recently, researchers at the Ohio State University created a solar battery that is 20% more efficient and 25% cheaper than what is on the market today. As solar technology continues to improve, new solar cells made of novel materials will continue to be more efficient at converting light into electricity. Combined with an ever-lower cost, solar energy is poised to become one of the most important renewable energy technologies in the coming decades.
Are you interested in knowing how solar energy compares to wind energy? Power your home with completely clean and renewable solar, wind and other energy sources. Take advantage of the move to a renewable energy plan today with Inspire, a trusted renewable energy company working to make the world a better place. We're on a mission to transform the way people access clean energy and accelerate a net-zero carbon future. In 1954, three men played a decisive role in the creation of photovoltaic or solar cells.
These men were David Chapin, Calvin Fuller and Gerald Pearson, all of whom worked for Bell Labs. They were first credited with the possibility of converting sunlight into electrical energy and were also able to increase the conversion efficiency percentage from 4 to 11%. The solar cell they created was the size of a small coin and could power a small toy windmill and a radio, and although it was not commercially viable, this laid the foundation for the development of the solar cell ever since. Ancient civilizations from the 7th century a.
C realized that they could use solar energy and glass to light fires. While this is a million miles away from converting solar energy into electricity, it shows that we have long had a fascination with the sun and its power. This energy heated public houses and toilets, as the windows were strategically placed for sunlight to heat the water or water tanks. This is where our love and ability to harness the energy of the sun really began.
However, the industry didn't begin to grow until Bell Labs developed a silicon-based solar cell in the 1950s. Go back slightly to 1883, when New York inventor Charles Fritts created the first solar cell by coating selenium with a thin layer of gold. However, this proved to be the catalyst for more solar-powered devices to be available on the market. The inventors produced the first solar collector in 1908, which resembles the solar collectors that are commonly used today.
As technology continued to gain momentum, the generalization and possibilities of using solar energy in many different applications became more feasible. This was a statement to make clean energy through solar energy more tangible to people and to spread awareness. Therefore, this brief history of solar energy is designed to highlight how humans have made use of this fast-growing type of renewable energy. As solar panels are built to be more efficient and cost less, solar energy has become a realistic way for ordinary people to generate energy for their homes and businesses.
Solus Engineering, Enpulz, Guardian Industries Corporation, SolarCity Corporation, United Solar Systems and Tesla (following its merger with SolarCity) have received patents for solar cells that are much more discreet than traditional solar panel. Throughout this period, developers built ever larger solar power plants, establishing solar energy as more than just a niche energy source. In 1878, Mouchet and his assistant Abel Pifre, who would develop the first solar-powered printing press, exhibited their solar-powered engine at the World Exposition in Paris, winning a gold medal for their efforts. .