The History of Solar

Solar panels have been constantly progressing over the past 200 years and are finally taking over as the most efficient source of energy.

1839: Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect.

1873: Willoughby Smith discovered selenium is a photoconductor.

1876: William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day linked the photovoltaic principle to selenium. Generated electricity when exposed to sunlight.

1883: Charles Fritz created the first working selenium solar cell.

1905: Albert Einstein studied how the photoelectric effect could carry energy. Publicity like this generated more attention as well as an acceptance for solar power on a broader scale.

1954: Bell Labs, Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson, created the first solar cell using silicon instead of selenium, which was more practical and efficient.

1958: Space age, Vanguard I satellite, Vanguard II, Explorer III, and Sputnik-3 used solar panels.

1964: NASA launched the Nimbus, who’s only source of power was its 470-watt photovoltaic solar panel array.

1970: Oil shortage showed US dependency on foreign resources. During this time, president Jimmy Carter installed 32 solar panels on the west wing of the White House.

2006: The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was established. The ITC encouraged the U.S. solar industry to increase by more than 10,000%.

2008: Barrack Obama removed the ITC cap and opened the ITC to all project costs

2016: The US installed 1 million solar units

2019: More solar was installed in the US than any other electricity source

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