Solar energy is not a new concept. Solar energy has been employed since the 7th century B.C. by humans. The sun’s energy has been respected and used almost as long as man has walked the earth in its most rudimentary form.
Solar power was first used to kindle fires for cooking by focusing the sun’s energy through a magnifying glass. Greeks and Romans used “burning mirrors” to light sacred torches for religious events around the third century B.C.
Sunrooms were created in ancient times to capture the sun’s natural warmth. From the legendary Roman bathhouses to Native American adobes, these mainly south-facing chambers have collected and concentrated sunlight, and are still popular in many modern dwellings.
The physicist Archimedes is said to have set fire to besieging wooden ships from the Roman Empire, according to legend in Greek solar history. According to legend, he used bronze shields to reflect the sun’s light energy, focusing the rays and destroying the enemy before they made landing.
Consider it a solar laser shot from the distant past. It is unknown whether or not this occurred during Archimedes’ time. However, the Greek navy put this solar power experiment to the test in the 1970s. They did, however, use the famed bronze shield and solar light energy to set fire to a wooden test ship 50 meters distant. 1
When did solar energy start to gain popularity?
Solar power became a viable option more than a century later, in 1954. Bell Laboratories patented the first workable solar cell, which used silicon instead of selenium. These solar cells were first commercialized the next year. These sold for $1,785 per watt in 1955 currency, despite the fact that they were just 2% efficient, compared to an average of 18% efficiency now.
Solar power, on the other hand, became more practicable in the 1960s and 1970s. With new technologies, efficiency levels increased to over 10%, and the concept of renewable energy rose in popularity. In addition, space exploration was becoming more important, and solar technology appeared to be a viable alternative energy source for space flight. Calculators and watches powered by the sun have made an appearance. Solar power was widely available to citizens by the 1980s, and federal legislation provided incentives and tax credits for homeowners who installed renewable energy. Solar cell sales surpassed $250 million in 1983.
Since the 1980s, the pervasiveness and quantity of solar energy technologies has continued to develop. Countries all around the world have passed bills and rules to aid in the provision of solar energy to their inhabitants, and technology is just getting better and better. Furthermore, solar power is far more accessible now than it was when it first became popular. Prices used to be $1,785 per watt, but by 2020, they’re expected to be less than $1 per watt. Solar technology is quickly becoming one of the most important fields of technical growth in our history, despite its modest start.
Receive a text quotation in seconds and learn how much money you can save on our most efficient solar panels.
When did solar energy become commercially viable?
The sun’s power is what allows life to exist on Earth. For a long time, humans have attempted to harness concentrated sun energy. Lighting fires, heating dwellings, and, more recently, creating energy to power modern homes and businesses Historians believe that as early as the 7th century B.C., mankind began lighting fires by focussing the Sun’s light via a magnifying glass. The Greeks and Romans were the first to use it “Later in the 3rd century B.C., mirrors were used to light torches. The Sun’s energy was incorporated into architectural buildings by early civilizations, resulting in the creation of “sunrooms with enormous windows that let in a lot of light and heat In 1767, the first solar oven, which uses sunshine to heat food or beverages, was created.
THE INVENTION OF THE SOLAR CELL AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT
The photovoltaic effect, or a solar cell’s ability to convert sunlight into electricity, was first demonstrated in 1839 by French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerel, and the development of solar cell technology, or photovoltaic (PV) technology, began during the Industrial Revolution. Charles Fritts, an American inventor, built the world’s first rooftop solar array in New York in 1883, one year after Thomas Edison opened the world’s first commercial coal plant.
Willoughby Smith, an English electrical engineer, discovered the photoconductivity of the element Selenium in 1873. (atomic number 34 on the periodic table). In 1876, Professor William Grylls Adams and his student Richard Evans Day demonstrated that selenium could be used to convert solar energy into electricity directly. Charles Fritts, an American inventor, invented the first photovoltaic cell using Selenium wafers in 1883.
OTHER IMPORTANT SOLAR EVENTS IN HISTORY
Solar panels in space: As the space age developed, solar panels were used to power various spacecraft, such as satellites. Launched in 1958, the Vanguard I satellite was one of the first to use a single-watt solar panel to power radios. In the same year, solar technology was utilized on Vanguard II, Explorer II, and Sputnik-3. In 1964, NASA’s Nimbus spacecraft was totally powered by a 470-watt solar system.
Oil shortages in the 1970s: The United States’ dependency on foreign energy resources was underlined during a period of high inflation. Because we were running out of essentials, we needed alternate energy sources. At the time, President Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the White House roof. This was an act to increase public awareness about clean energy and to make a statement about solar energy’s accessibility. President Ronald Reagan later allowed the removal of these panels, which were eventually restored together with a solar water heater during President Barack Obama’s first term.
“Solar One,” the first solar house, was constructed at the University of Delaware in 1973. The solar PV/thermal hybrid system allowed surplus electricity to be sent to the grid during the day and utilised at night.
Improvements in conversion efficiency: Hoffman electronics was responsible for various advancements in photovoltaic energy between 1957 and 1960, raising conversion rates from 4% to 14%. In 1985, the University of South Wales improved this to 20% efficiency, and in 1999, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and SpectroLab Inc. collaborated to develop a 33.3 percent efficient solar cell. With a 34.5 percent efficiency, the University of South Wales recaptured the title of most efficient solar cell in 2016.
SOLAR POWER IN TODAY’S WORLD:
The first commercially available solar array was released in 1956, but at $300 per watt, it was out of reach for most people. By 1975, the cost had dropped to roughly $100 per watt, and the price has dropped at least 10% per year since then. The cost reduction is to blame for the increase in demand, which resulted in over one million solar installations in the United States by 2016.
These innovations have come a long way since their inception! To find out more about the complete range of benefits and how to make the move to solar, click here.
When did solar energy become a source of electricity?
Solar power is the conversion of solar energy into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), indirectly using concentrated solar power, or a combination of the two. The photovoltaic effect is used in solar cells to convert light into an electric current. Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors, as well as solar tracking systems, to concentrate a significant amount of sunlight onto a hot point, which is frequently used to power a steam turbine.
From a calculator powered by a single solar cell to rural dwellings powered by an off-grid rooftop PV system, photovoltaics were initially employed only as a source of electricity for small and medium-sized applications. Concentrated solar power facilities were first established commercially in the 1980s. Grid-connected solar PV systems have increased more or less exponentially since then, as the cost of solar electricity has decreased. Thousands of installations and gigawatt-scale solar power plants have been completed, and more are on the way. Solar PV has quickly established itself as a viable low-carbon technology, and by 2020, it will be the cheapest source of electricity ever.
Solar now generates 4% of global electricity in 2021, compared to 1% in 2015, when the Paris Agreement to minimize climate change was signed. Utility-scale solar, along with onshore wind, has the lowest levelised cost of power. Solar power would provide around 20% of global energy consumption in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency’s “Net Zero by 2050” scenario, and solar would be the world’s largest source of electricity.
What president was the first to install solar panels in the White House?
President Jimmy Carter advocated for clean energy from renewable sources during his presidency. Carter had 32 solar panels erected on the White House West Wing roof in the summer of 1979 as a demonstration of his belief in “the power of the sun.”
The cost of purchasing a solar system is relatively expensive at first. Solar panels, inverters, batteries, wiring, and installation are all included in this cost. Nonetheless, because solar technology is continually improving, it’s realistic to predict that prices will continue to fall in the future.
Although solar energy can be collected during overcast and rainy days, the solar system’s efficiency is reduced. Solar panels must be exposed to sunlight in order to collect solar energy. As a result, a couple of overcast, rainy days can have a significant impact on the energy system. It’s also important to remember that solar energy cannot be collected at night.
Thermodynamic panels, on the other hand, are an option to consider if you need your water heating solution to work at night or during the winter.
Check out our video for a breakdown of how effective solar panels are in the winter:
When it comes to solar panels, how long do they last?
Photovoltaic (PV) panels, commonly known as solar panels, are designed to last for more than 25 years. Many solar panels that were placed as early as the 1980s are still operating at full power. 1 Solar panels are not only incredibly dependable, but their lifespan has risen substantially in the previous 20 years. 2 Many solar manufacturers back their equipment with performance guarantees in their warranties, in addition to decades of successful performance. 1
Keep in mind that just because your solar panels are predicted to last a couple of decades doesn’t imply they’ll stop producing electricity. It simply implies that their energy production will be reduced by the amount that solar panel manufacturers believe is necessary to meet the energy needs of the ordinary American family.
What was the first solar panel’s efficiency?
The original solar cells, developed in the 1800s, were just 1% efficient, much too inefficient to be used as a source of energy. Bell Labs didn’t create the first usable silicon solar panel until 1954, and it was only around 6% efficient.
There is technology available to improve the efficiency of solar panels even more. Using improved cell architectures, researchers were able to reach a 47.1 percent efficiency. Super high-efficiency panels, on the other hand, are often composed of more expensive materials that aren’t used in rooftop solar panels, and so aren’t now cost-effective.
What was Reagan’s motivation for removing the solar panels?
The Obama administration stated in 2010 that solar panels would be restored to the White House residence’s roof. Originally erected in the late 1970s under President Jimmy Carter’s administration, the panels were removed in 1986 due to a roof leak, and President Ronald Reagan decided not to restore them. The panels are back up some 30 years later, and the administration is using them as a springboard to launch a slew of new energy-saving programs.
Those initiatives, according to The Washington Post, involve both commercial and federal undertakings.
Walmart says it will treble the number of on-site solar energy projects in its stores and distribution centers by 2020, and the Energy Department is set to announce two new rules today to reduce energy use in electric motors, walk-in refrigerators, and freezers. The government also intends to start a community college-based training program in order to create 50,000 new solar-energy jobs by 2020.
The Obama administration also intends to spend $2 billion over the next two years to increase energy efficiency in federal buildings, though no details on how this will be accomplished have been released. It also intends to approve a new commercial building code that is 8.5% more efficient than the one it will replace. The solar panels atop the White House roof were all made in the United States and cover roughly the same area as those on a typical American home. In a video, White House usher James Doherty says the administration would like to cover the entire roof but is unable to do so due to security concerns.
Updated at 2:25 p.m. on May 9th to incorporate information about the first solar panels installed on the White House in the 1970s.
Is it true that Jimmy Carter built a solar farm?
Carter leased 10 acres of land for a solar farm near Plains, Georgia, where he grew up. The project, which will be able to satisfy more than half of the town’s energy needs, was eventually completed in February by the solar development firm SolAmerica.