A Brief History of Photovoltaics and Solar Energy

The practice of harnessing the power of the sun has grown exponentially over the years as scientists, researchers, and now businesses are discovering the best ways to convert sunlight into energy and electricity with solar panels and other systems.

Early humans using the sun to light fires or torches and the concept of sunrooms are probably the earliest evidence of harnessing solar energy that we know of. However, science has advanced way beyond this primal use of the sun’s energy.

Edmond Becquerel, a French scientist, first discovered the photovoltaic effect in 1839 as the process that occurs when light is absorbed by a material and creates electrical voltage.

Solar Energy Powering a House in Long Island NYIn 1876, William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day found that selenium could produce electricity from light without heat or moving parts, which proved solar power easy to harvest and maintain. These two discoveries led Charles Fritts to produce the first solar cells from selenium wafers in 1883.

Fast forward to 1953, where physicists at Bell Laboratories figured out that silicon is more efficient than selenium, leading to solar cells capable of powering electrical equipment. Silicon could power an electric device for several hours of a day, and it was so effective that we still make modern-day solar cells with the material.

The first solar residence was constructed in 1973 by the University of Delaware and was integrated with photovoltaics by having solar integrated into the rooftop.

Residential solar power started coming to life when DIY solar panels became popular in 2005. Today, people and industries choose to use solar panels to save energy and costs.

Become a part of this innovative approach to photovoltaics with Empire Clean Energy Supply, a renewable energy company committed to finding the newest and most efficient ways to use photovoltaic solar panels and systems in Long Island, NY. Give us a call at 631-589-4340 today and learn more about our products and services!