History of solar panels – Humankind has been harnessing the sun’s rays since time immemorial. Other than what is natural i.e. obtaining heat and light from the sun, humans used solar power as early as the 7th century B.C. In its most basic form, they’d use a magnifying glass to concentrate the rays onto a single point and cause it light a fire. Some centuries later, the concept of ‘burning mirrors’ was developed where large mirrors were used to light fires for religious ceremonies.
These were the early uses of solar energy. But as humanity progressed, the scientific knowledge kept accumulating, and so came the sophisticated technologies that enabled us to harness this power more efficiently and for a plethora of needs. History of Solar Panels
Today, its applications range from powering our gadgets to households and from satellites to huge power plants. How did we get here? Many scientists credit Edmond Becquerel, a French physicist who, in 1839, discovered that light could augment electricity generation when two metal electrodes were placed into a conducting solution. This phenomenon, known as the “photovoltaic effect,” proved effective in later Photovoltaic (PV) developments with different elements, notably selenium. A few decades later, in 1883, Charles Fritts actually produced the first solar cells made from selenium wafers. History of Solar Panels
For the same reason, some historians credit Fritts with the actual invention of solar cells. Fast forward to 1954, three American scientists, Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson developed the first-ever silicon PV cell at Bell Labs.
Since today’s solar power is silicon-based and since it was the first instance where a cell could actually power an electrical device for many hours a day, many scientific historians credit these scientists with the invention of solar technology. Regardless of who is the actual inventor, they all had a definite role in bringing us to where we are today. It is to the credit of these great names that contributed to the development of making a solar system work. But how does it work?