The History of Solar
Legend holds that Archimedes, a Greek scientist, used a series of mirrors on the shoreline to concentrate the sun’s energy and set fire to incoming enemy ships.
A.E. Becquerel observes that shining light on certain materials would cause the creation of electric current. This was the launching point for photovoltaic technology.
1st Solar Cell
Charles Fritts produces the world’s first solar cell, a device that converts sunlight into electricity, using selenium and gold. The cell’s efficiency was less than 1%, meaning than less than 1% of the light energy was converted into electricity.
Albert Einstein is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his “discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.” Einstein was the first to postulate the existence of light quanta, now called photons, providing a theoretical foundation for modern PV technology.
Silicon solar cells make their way into the mainstream market. The New York Times noted that the silicon cell could lead to “the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.”
The Space Race
The space race between the U.S. and Russia sparks significant investments in solar technology. Some of the earliest man-made satellites, including Vanguard 1, were powered by photovoltaic cells.
20% Efficient Cells
A silicon solar cell breaks the 20% efficiency barrier. High-efficiency, low-cost silicon solar cells make their way into commercial production.
1GW of Solar
Cumulative global solar installation passes 1GW, a critical turning point for our industry’s global development.