Solar Power – The History Of Solar Power

The History Of Solar Power

With the recent rise in energy costs many people have been looking to alternative sources of energy. One of the greatest energy sources (our sun) is readily available for the taking. We just need to be able to harness it’s power. For those interested, below is a brief history of how solar power came to be.

The history of photovoltaic energy (aka. solar cells) started way back in 1876. William Grylls Adams along with a student of his, Richard Day, discovered that when selenium was exposed to light, it produced electricity. An electricity expert, Werner von Siemens, stated that the discovery was “scientifically of the most far-reaching importance”. The selenium cells were not efficient, but it was proved that light, without heat or moving parts, could be converted into electricity.

In 1953, Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson, and Daryl Chapin, discovered the silicon solar cell. This cell actually produced enough electricity and was efficient enough to run small electrical devices. The New York Times stated that this discovery was “the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of harnessing the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.”

The year is 1956, and the first solar cells are available commercially. The cost however is far from the reach of everyday people. At $300 for a 1 watt solar cell, the expense was far beyond anyone’s means. 1956 started showing us the first solar cells used in toys and radios. These novelty items were the first item to have solar cells available to consumers.

.In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s satellites in the USA’s and Soviet’s space program were powered by solar cells and in the late 1960’s solar power was basically the standard for powering space bound satellites.

In the early 1970’s a way to lower to cost of solar cells was discovered. This brought the price down from $100 per watt to around $20 per watt. This research was spearheaded by Exxon. Most off-shore oil rigs used the solar cells to power the waning lights on the top of the rigs.

The period from the 1970’s to the 1990’s saw quite a change in the usage of solar cells. They began showing up on railroad crossings, in remote places to power homes, Australia used solar cells in their microwave towers to expand their tel
ecommunication capabilities. Even desert regions saw solar power bring water to the soil where line fed power was not an option!

Today we see solar cells in a wide variety of places. You may see solar powered cars. There is even a solar powered aircraft that has flown higher than any other aircraft with the exception of the Blackbird. With the cost of solar cells well within everyone’s budget, solar power has never looked so tempting.

Recently new technology has given us screen printed solar cells, and a solar fabric that can be used to side a house, even solar shingles that install on our roofs. International markets have opened up and solar panel manufacturers are now playing a key role in the solar power industry.

By: Will Reece

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Will Reece runs along with other alternative energy sites. For more information regarding solar power, visit us online at

Many people have misconceptions regarding solar power. This article will reveal the fallacy of these ideas. The top three misconceptions are:

  1. The installations are very expensive.
  2. The solar conversion must be installed by a professional.
  3. Solar power can not run AC appliances.

The installations are very expensive. This is just not true. Many of the supplies, including solar panels, can be purchased at a deep discount if you know where to look. Some of the supplies can be found for free if you know the right procedure to follow and who to ask for your free photo-voltaic cells.

The solar conversion must be done by a professional. Again, this is just not true. Many of the steps of the solar conversion can be done by a beginning do it your-self-er, following simple instructions, using simple ordinary tools that most people already have, and basic carpentry skills that most people already have. A licensed and experienced electrician should be used to complete the final wiring of the unit, and to make the connection to the existing electrical system.

Solar power can not be used by regular household appliances. Again, this is simply not true. Most regular household appliances are AC, meaning that they run on alternating current. A solar power generator, generates Direct current (DC). A device called a grid tie inverter is used to convert direct current to alternating current so that it can be used by the appliances already owned by the household. Appliances that run on direct current can also be substituted for AC appliances so that an inverter is not necessary.

To find out more about installing Solar power see the free review which reveals how experts set up alternative energy and get dramatic energy savings in just days. Get it here: Jim Hess, expert author, writes reviews and articles about alternative energy, solar power and wind-generated power. See his website: for reviews and much more!

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