A Brief History of the Solar Panel

Solar energy dates back over 4 billion years to when our sun was formed, yet scientists began to discover that the sun could create energy that we could use within the past 150 years.  The mastermind behind these first experiments was Alexandre Edmond Becquerel.  He discovered that when he exposed certain materials to light, he could create an electric current.

Then in 1876, William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day experimented on selenium’s electric producing qualities, in effect creating the original photovoltaic cell.  The first commercial application of this idea wasn’t actually put into production until 1954 when Bell Laboratory patented solar cells made from silicon.  The scientists credited with this research were Daryl Chapin, Gerald Pearson and Calvin Fuller.

Satelite and earthSolar cells have been the preferred source of energy on many spacecrafts since their commercial inception in the 1950’s.  Even though the efficiency of the cells has improved, we are essentially using the same technology today.

It is rumored that solar panel’s populararity in the 1980’s can be attributed to pot growers in Northern California.  These cultivators used solar panels to power their off-grid marijuana farms.

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