We hear a lot about solar panels and the use of solar energy in reference to sustainability. It seems like there are so many applications to solar power as a clean source of energy. Although photo voltaic cells are a modern invention, and sustainability even more modern concern, humans use solar energy for a long time now. Greek and Roman societies documented the use of mirrors to concentrate solar energy and light torches as a part of a ceremony as early as the 3rd century B.C. Not long after them, civilizations in the far east used the power of the sun in the same way.
Another early use of solar power was heating. Similar to the previous technique Romans were using mirrors to direct the sunbeams to heat their hot bathing houses. fruition. With the best way the price of photo voltaic has plummeted up to now decade, it’s simple to overlook that going photo voltaic had a totally totally different that means even simply 15 years in the past. Let’s return a number of centuries to the origins of photo voltaic PV and discover the historical past of photo voltaic power and silicon photo voltaic expertise. Later on, in the early 18th century scientists started taking this source of energy to the next level. They even managed to build a solar-powered oven. So as you can see even years before solar panels came into our lives the use of solar energy was already a question that many minds worked on.
When Did We Discover The Photovoltaic Effect?
The photovoltaic effect is the fundamental concept we exploit to produce electricity in solar panels. Discovered in 1839 by the French scientist Edmond Becquerel. Becquerel found out that the electrical conductivity of selenium increase with light exposure. This was the foundation for the understanding that we can cause electrical currents only with exposure to light. The technology further evolved from this point to the way solar panels work today nonetheless it was a major milestone in the process.
The Solar Water heater
Although the discovery of the photovoltaic effect, in the next century after it the main use of solar energy shifted its direction. In the end of the 19th century, the domestic water heater was patented in California. Launched to the market under the name “The climax” it was nothing more than a box full of water sitting on the roof and heartening throughout the day. Since than many tweaks and upgrades have been presented to this simple concept. Water heating is not the only possible use for solar thermal power.
Nowadays it’s so common that in some places most residential buildings are equipped with it. It’s a fantastic way to save on utility costs since the sun is emitting energy all day long for free. The cost of the device is also very achievable since The solar water heater is a passive device. It has a panel with tubes running water in it all colored in black. As you may have guessed the black color makes those tubes absorb more of the solar energy. Later the heated water flows to a tank where they are stored for later use in showers or home heating. No active heating also means no pricy electrical parts.
When Was The First Photo Voltaic Cell Discovered?
Almost 120 years after the first discovery of the photovoltaic effect.Thanks to the work of countless brilliant physicians and after going from selenium to silicon-based cells, the first photo voltaic cell, as we know them today, was introduced. In 1954 the at the bell labs United States, three scientists Daryl Chap,in, Calvin Fuller and Gerald Pearson develop the silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell. Operating at just 4% efficiency it was enough to power everyday electrical equipment. From there the solar energy world as know it today begins. More and more commercial companies both a license to work with this technology. That accelerated the development of this technology.
Some Of The Landmarks Along The Way
Since the discovery of photo voltaic cells, this is where the solar wind blows. There were a few landmarks along the way worth mentioning.
The first use of solar energy in space
In 1964 NASA launched the first satellite powered by a 470-watt solar panels array – the nimbus.
The first solar-powered plane
An American aeronautical engineer, named Paul MacCready built the first solar-powered aircraft—the Solar Challenger— in 1981. He flies with it the entire way from France to England passing the English Channel. The
aircraft’s wings had over 16,000 solar cells mounted on them, which were producing 3 Kw of power.
Increase in the cell’s solar power conversion efficency
Hoffman Electronics delivered us some major breakthroughs in cell efficient between the years 1957 and 1960. The first efficiency got up to 8% doubof le that the prior cell design. Later in this period they even reached 14%. The next big landmark was achieved in 1985 in South Wales when the local college managed to reach 20% effectivity with silicon-based cells. The last is pretty impressive considering the theoretical limit of 33% efficiency also called Shockley–Queisser limit for a single junction p-n node.
Photo voltaic cells dropped over time
The prices for photo voltaic panels have dropped considerably over the previous few decades. With a major 70% drop in price every decade for the last 50 years. The 1956 panels sold for about $300 per watt. Later on to about 100$ per watt by 1975. With a price tag of as little as $0.50 a watt nowadays. Looking at the price drops no surprise resulting in solar power becoming more accessible to the general public. Now with the wide spread of domestic solar systems, almost everyone could harness the solar energy of the sun to produce electricity. In addition to that prices are estimated to keep on dropping while companies work non-stop on upgrading the production technologies and building bigger assembly lines.
Currently, Solar Megaprojects Contribute To Powering Our Lives
The drop of PV cells price, and engineering technologies progress, along with the increasing cost of lands directed the solar sector toward building huge solar farms. There are many amazing examples of this concept already operating, and many more that are currently under development. One of the most innovative ways to lower land costs and reduce the heat effect on efficiency is floating sollar farms.
Looking at the history of solar energy you can notice that it’s been used by humanity for a long time now. In the past two centuries, we experienced the fastest development of those technologies. In the last two decades the installation rate was so fast and the drop in rates so significant to establish the place of solar as one of the leading technologies we use to combat climate change. We estimate that in the following years we will see a further increase in the installation rate and efficiency increase. Resulting in a cleaner more sustainable world for mankind.