When Was the Solar Panel Invented?

Tim Hamlin
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Transition to Solar Energy

Solar energy can be tapped by using solar cells. These solar cells transform the energy in sun’s rays into electrical energy. A solar cell is made of semiconductor material. The first solar cells used silicon as a semiconductor material, but today’s solar cells can also be made from gallium arsenide, germanium, silicon germanium (SiGe), and indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) and other semiconductor materials.

The first solar cells were made in the mid-20th century. At first, they were only as small as 0.25 square inch. But by the 1970s, solar cells were large enough to power small electronic devices, such as calculators. In the next 30 years, worldwide production of solar cells increased enormously. Between 1994 and 2006, production of solar cells doubled every 2 years. Also, efficiency in conversion of sunlight into electricity improved immensely during this time.

The Evolution of Solar Panels

The history of the solar panel dates back to 1839 when a man by the name of Michael Faraday presented a paper theorizing how a solar cell would generate electricity.

In 1907, a French scientist, Dr. Edmond Becquerel was the first to discover how to make the radiation of the sun interact with the materials