Essay about The History Of Photovoltaic Energy

1018 Words Jan 19th, 2016 5 Pages
The history of photovoltaic energy started back in 1876. William Grylls and one of his students, Richard Day, discovered that when selenium, which is a chemical element of atomic number 34, a gray crystalline nonmetal with semiconducting properties, was exposed to light, it produced electricity (Reece). Werner von Siemens, an electricity expert, stated that the discovery was “scientifically of the most far-reaching importance” (Reece). The selenium cells were not efficient, but it was proved that light, without heat or moving parts, could be converted into electricity. In 1953, Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson, and Daryl Chapin, discovered the silicon solar cell. The solar cell actually produced enough electricity and was efficient enough to run small electrical devices. The New York Times stated that this discovery was “the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of harnessing the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization” (Reece). In 1956, the first solar cells were available commercially. The cost however was far too expensive for the everyday people. At $300 for a 1-watt solar cell, the cost was far from anyone’s reach. Around this time, the first solar cells used in toys and radios, these novelty items were the first item to have solar cells available to consumers. Towards the late 1950’s and early 1960’s satellites in the USA’s and Soviet’s space program were powered by solar cells and in the late 1960’s solar power was…

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