The evolution of solar energy began in the mid-20th century. It is widely believed that these cells were developed by scientists during the past few decades.
1839: The phenomenon of the photovoltaic effect
Alexandre Becrelque, a French physicist, discovered in 1839 that a voltage is created by the effects of radiation.
1873: Photoconductivity of selenium discovered
Engineer Willoughby Smith was able to transform liquid electrolyte into solid selenium. In 1876, physicists Rich Day and Will Adams realized that solar energy could be stored and collected.
1883: The world’s first working photocell
Charles Fritz was the first person to invent solar cells. He created the concept of a tabletop power plant with an efficiency of 1.6%.
1887: Explaining the nature of the photoelectric effect
Physicists were able to create electricity from the energy emitted by photons. They then realized that this phenomenon could be achieved using ultraviolet radiation.
1953: Discovery of the semiconducting capabilities of silicon
The main reason why solar energy efficiency remained so low was that the materials used to make solar panels were too expensive and could not be easily integrated.
1956: Start of commercial panel production
Western Electric стала первой компанией, которая стала производить коммерческие солнечные панели. Несмотря на высокую стоимость оборудования, нашлось много покупателей.
1958: Photovoltaic cells in space
Those who created solar panels for space deserve special attention. In those days, there was no other way to generate electricity for this vital equipment.
1971 – 1979: Creation of cost-effective panels
The rise in oil prices during the 1970s triggered the development of more efficient photovoltaic panels. The next step was the financing of these developments by Exxon.
1981: Who was the creator of the first tower-type solar power plant?
In the next decade, the development of large-scale solar plants started. One of these was the Solar Two thermodynamic power facility in the Mojave Desert, which began operation in 1981.
A year later, the same Arco Solar concern built a California solar park capable of generating more than 1 MW of energy per hour.
In 1983, the company launched a giant farm of hundreds of thousands of solar panels with a total capacity of 5.2 MW.
1994: First solar panels with 30% efficiency
The NREL was the first laboratory to introduce solar cells that use rare-earth elements insteadof silicon. They are known as CIGS, and their efficiency has improved significantly.
1995: Who invented integrated solar panels and when?
Thomas Faluji is the person who filed the patent for the system that integrates solar panels into retractable canopies. This patent was first filed in 1995.
2015: Photovoltaic films printed on a printer
The first industrial samples of thin-film solar panels were introduced in 2015. They are more economical, more versatile, and can be produced in various configurations.