Celebrating 70 Years of Solar Cell Innovation in the USA: A Journey of Sustainable Development

Hello sun-lovers, welcome back to another exciting post on harnessing the incredible power of our beloved star, the Sun. Today, we’ll delve back into the past, right where it all started: with the production of the first functional solar module.

There’s something profoundly inspiring about the tale of solar’s inception. Exactly 70 years ago, a group of scientists at Bell Labs in New Jersey unveiled to the world what we now recognize as the first practical “solar battery.” This historic moment marked a promising start for an industry that would eventually revolutionize the way we generate and consume energy.

Despite this historic invention, it took several decades for solar power to truly shine. In the last 10 years, however, the global growth of photovoltaics (PV) has accelerated impressively. In 2004, roughly 1 GW of PV power was installed worldwide throughout the entire year. By 2010, the rate had surged to 1 GW per month, and by 2015 we were at 1 GW per week. As of late, we’re seeing about 1 GW installed per day worldwide – truly spectacular progress!

The initial assignment given to U.S. scientists Daryl Chapin, Gerald Pearson and Calvin Fuller seemed simple enough: develop a reliable energy source for remote telephone systems. However, the low efficiency of solar cells made from the semiconductor material selenium was a significant hurdle. Their innovations led to the development of a silicon-based solar cell, increasing efficiency and paving the way for the use of solar panels for your home today.

From this first practical solar module, boasting a 6% efficiency, we progressed to today’s modules offering up to 25% efficiency. This tremendous improvement has been brought about by the industrialization of PV production and accelerated technical progress. Now, solar arrays for home use have become a common sight in many neighborhoods, highlighting the growth and popularity of this clean energy source.

It’s truly remarkable to look back and marvel at how far the solar industry has come. From the birth of the first practical solar module, to the proliferation of solar companies providing solar panels for homes worldwide, this journey underscores the transformative power of human ingenuity. The story of solar is our story, and it’s far from over.

Until next time, stay sun-powered!

Original Articlehttps://pv-magazine-usa.com/2024/04/25/born-in-the-usa-first-silicon-solar-cell-celebrates-70th-birthday/

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