Sun is the abundant source of energy. In fact most of the renewable energy sources are derived due to solar radiation only.
We human are using solar energy from ancient time to generate heat. In 20th century, Solar photovoltaic cell were invented to convert solar energy into electrical energy. The word ‘Photovoltaic’ stands for ‘photos’ and ’volt’. Photos is Greek word for light whereas volt is the unit of electric potential. The invention of PV cell was actually started in 1839. Let’s start from there;
1839 – A French Physicist Edmond Becquerel presented a paper on ‘wet cell’ battery. In his experiment, he showed that when silver plates in cell are exposed to light, it increases battery voltage.
1877 – Two Cambridge scientists, Adams and Day submitted a paper titled ‘The action of light on seleniumin’ in front of Royal Society. They observed variations in electrical properties of Selenium (non-metallic element) material when exposed to sun light.
1883 – An electrician in New York, Charles Edgar Fritts, built a Selenium solar cell. Less than 1% of solar energy was being converted to electricity. Despite of this fact, the cell was responding to visible light spectrum which was big achievement that time.
1894 – Melvin Severy receives patent Solar cell.
1905 – Albert Einstein published a paper based on photoelectric effect on a quantum basis along with another paper in which he proposed theory of relativity.
1950 – A team of scientists namely Darryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller and Gerald Pearson from Bell Labs, New Jersey, United States constructed a cell from semiconductor devices such as Silicon.
1954 – Bell Labs invented first usable solar cell. It contained doped silicon slices which increased its efficiency up to 6%.
1955 – Western Electric licensed commercial solar cell having 2% efficiency
1958 – Solar Cells were used in the second US space satellite, Vanguard I
1960 – Hoffman Electronics created a 14% efficient solar cell.
1968 – Synchroner introduced the first solar-powered wristwatch
1977 – The total worldwide production of electrical energy through photovoltaic cells exceeded 500 kW
1978 – Casio introduced the first solar-powered calculator series.
1985 – University of New South Wales designed solar cell with 20% efficiency.
1999 – The worldwide production of electrical energy through photovoltaic cells exceeded 1,000 megawatts.
2006 – UNSW researchers in Australia set world record of 40% efficient solar cell
2013 – After three years, the solar panels ordered by President Barack Obama for solar water heating were installed on the White House.
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“The sunlight that reaches on the Earth in 1 hour could meet annual electricity demand of the world!”