Who invented the solar panel
The concept of harnessing the sun’s energy is a well-known one that has existed since people first roamed the Earth.
Who Invented Solar Panels?
As seen in our infographic timeline below, several important innovators and scientists contributed to the creation of Solar Panels. The most significant creation came from a 19-year-old Frenchman named Edmund Becquerel in 1839. While testing with a few of metal electrodes, he discovered the photovoltaic effect, the scientific process behind the solar cell. Pioneering scientists refined his approach over decades, and in 1923 Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for his theories explaining the photoelectric effect.
The photovoltaic cell, often known as a PV cell, was initially used in the early 1950s. These cells are made from ultra-thin silicon wafers. These are the most commonnowadays.
The first solar-powered satellite was launched in 1958. With the introduction of nanotechnologies, PV cell efficiency has increased dramatically. Now a typical home may be totally solar powered with significantly less roof space and cost.
The Age of Growth (late 20th century)
After the early 1970s energy crisis, solar technology becomes commercialized. Petroleum scarcity causes weak economic growth and high energy prices. Responding to these challenges, the US government funds commercial and residential solar systems, establishes solar energy research and development institutes, and supports the solar industry with a regulatory framework that still exists today. In 1976,s cost $106/watt instead of $1,865/watt in 1956.
1981: Funded by the United States and Saudi Arabia, the first concentrating PV system goes into operation.
1981: Solar Challenger becomes the world’s first solar aircraft capable of flying long distances.
1981: Solar One, a pilot solar thermal project in the Mojave Desert near Barstow, California, is completed by the U.S. Department of Energy.
1982: The first large-scale solar farm is built near Hesperia, California.
1982: The Sacramento Municipal Utility District commissions its first solar electricity-generating facility.
1985: Silicon cells that can reach 20% efficiency are created by the Centre for Photovoltaic Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
1985: Lithium-ion batteries, later used to store renewable energy, are developed.
1991: The first lithium-ion batteries reach commercial production.
1992: The Investment Tax Credit is made permanent by Congress.
2000: Germany creates a feed-in-tariff program to stimulate the solar industry.
The Age of Maturity (21st century)
Solar energy, a costly but scientifically solid technology, is now the world’s cheapest energy. Its success follows the S-curve, where early adopters generate gradual initial growth, then explosive expansion as economies of scale allow production costs to fall and supply networks to expand. Solar modules cost $106/watt in 1976, but now cost only $0.38/watt, with 89 percent of the decline occurring since 2010.
2013: Worldwide solar PV installations pass 100 gigawatts.
2015: Tesla introduces the lithium-ion Powerwall battery pack to allow rooftop solar owners to store electricity.
2015: China becomes the world’s leader in installed solar system capacity, surpassing Germany.
2015: Google launches Project Sunroof to help homeowners judge the feasibility of rooftop solar.
2016: Solar installations in the United States reach one million.
2016: Solar Impulse 2 takes the first zero-emissions flight around the world.
2016: Las Vegas, Nevada, becomes the largest city government in America to be run entirely on renewable energy, including from solar panel trees in front of City Hall.
2017: The solar industry employs more people in electricity generation in the U.S. than do fossil fuel industries.
2019: The first offshore floating solar farm is installed in the Dutch North Sea.
2020: It is cheaper to build a new solar plant than it is to continue operating an existing coal plant.
2020: California requires all new homes to have solar panels.
2020: The International Energy Agency states that “Solar is the new king of the electricity markets.”11
2021: Apple, Inc. announces it was constructing the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to store energy from its 240 megawatt-hours solar farm in California.
The Future of Solar: New Improvements in Photovoltaic Cells
PV cells now have a 15% efficiency. This means that 85% of the light they get is strained. Scientists are always testing new solutions to improve solar panel efficiency. Using light-sensitive nanoparticles and gallium arsenide, new solar energy storage technologies are also being developed. Recently, Ohio State University researchers developed a solar battery that is 20% more efficient and 25% cheaper than current models.
New solar cells composed of unique materials will become more efficient at converting light into power as solar technology advances. Solar power is destined to become one of the most important renewable energy technologies in the future decades.