Do You Know the History of Solar Panels? ——(Excerpt)

Feb. 08, 2023
Before Bell Labs invented the first modern solar panel in 1954, the history of solar energy was one of the experiments after experiment driven by individual inventors and scientists. Then the space and defense industries recognized its value, and by the end of the 20th century, solar energy had become a promising but still expensive alternative to fossil fuels. In the 21st century, the industry has reached maturity, developing into a proven and inexpensive technology that is rapidly replacing coal, oil, and natural gas in the energy market. This timeline highlights some of the major pioneers and events in the emergence of solar technology.
Who invented solar panels?
Charles Fritts was the first to use solar panels to generate electricity in 1884, but it would be another 70 years before they became efficient enough to be useful. The first modern solar panels, which were still very inefficient, were developed by three Bell Labs researchers, Daryl Chapin, Gerald Pearson, and Calvin Fuller. Russel Ohl, a predecessor at Bell Labs, discovered how silicon crystals functioned as semiconductors when exposed to light. This set the stage for these three pioneers.
The time history of solar panels
19th – early 20th centuries
Physics flourished in the mid-19th century, with groundbreaking experiments in electricity, magnetism, and the study of light. The basics of solar energy were part of that discovery, as inventors and scientists laid the groundwork for much of the technology’s subsequent history.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries
The emergence of modern theoretical physics helped lay the groundwork for a better understanding of photovoltaic energy. Quantum physics’ description of the subatomic world of photons and electrons revealed the mechanics of how incoming light packets perturb the electrons in silicon crystals to produce electric currents.
Tip: What is the photovoltaic effect?
The photovoltaic effect is the key to solar photovoltaic technology. The photovoltaic effect is a combination of physics and chemistry that creates an electric current when a material is exposed to light.

Post time: Mar-03-2023