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How solar energy was invented

History of solar cells: How solar energy was invented

Did you know that the first working solar cell was manufactured as early as 1954?

In this article, you can read more about the history of solar cells and find out who first discovered that the sun's rays can be converted into electricity.

When were solar cells invented?

It was the Frenchman Edmond Becquerel who already in 1884 realized that the sun's rays could be converted into electricity.

This discovery provided fuel for a number of researchers who began using various methods to research how to transform Becquerel's theory into a fully functioning solar cell.

The same effect was achieved with selenium, which is an element, if this was exposed to direct sunlight. However, the efficiency was very modest and amounted to about 1 percent, which, however, was enough to power a lamp.

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The first functioning solar cell is launched

However, it would not be until the mid-1950s that the first version of today's solar cells was invented.

It was thus already in the 19th century that they discovered how light could be used to create electricity, but at this time it was difficult to see how this would be applied in practice.

It would not be until 1954 that the American company Bell Laboratories was able to present the first functioning solar cells. The efficiency of these solar cells was about 6 percent.

At this time, it was immediately seen that this could be used to produce electricity for the satellites that were sent into space. This made it possible to extend the life of the satellites by many years.

Solar cells for space required an enormously high quality and making solar cells was therefore extremely expensive. Thus, it could not be seen that there could be other uses for solar cells.

It would take until the end of the 1960s before they began to look at how to make solar cells with cheaper materials and thus be able to use these on earth to produce electricity.

However, solar cells were still very expensive and therefore only larger companies invested in solar cells to be able to produce electricity in places where they could not get electricity in any other way.

At this time, the environment was hardly in mind when investing in solar cells without investments being made mainly for practical reasons and to some extent also for economic reasons.

Solar cells then and now

Over the decades, solar cells have been further developed and over time, new materials could be found that could be used in the manufacture of solar cells and thus reduce the manufacturing cost.

They have also succeeded in making solar panels increasingly efficient. Today, commercial solar panels have an efficiency of around 20%, which is about 3 times stronger than when they were first launched.

Then prices began to fall, which they have continued to do in recent years, so today an investment in a photovoltaic system is profitable. This means that many private individuals choose to install solar cells and produce their own electricity while also contributing to a better environment.

To invest in solar cells today

If you have your own property, the installation of a photovoltaic system is a very good investment. Normally, a photovoltaic system can produce about 50 percent of the property's energy needs or more, which means that during the lifetime of a photovoltaic system, significant savings can be made.

Already after 10-14 years, you have usually got back the money you have paid for your photovoltaic system and then you can enjoy the return on investment for many years to come.

That an installation of solar cells also contributes to a better environment and thus also a reduced climate threat is also one of the benefits that one's investment in green electricity entails.

Over the past 20 years, prices for solar cells have decreased by about 90 percent, which is partly due to the removal of punitive duties and the fact that the price has fallen due to larger orders.

This has led to thousands of private individuals around Australia each year choosing to install their own photovoltaic system to produce their own electricity for their properties.

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