History of Solar Energy

  • 1839 – Alexandre Edmond Becquerel first observes photovoltaic effect.
  • 1883 – Charles Fritts develops a solar cell with less than 1% efficiency.
  • 1905 – Albert Einstein publishes a paper explaining the photoelectric effect on a quantum basis.
  • 1954 – Solar cells with an efficiency of 6% are shown unveiled at a National Academy of science meeting.
  • 1960 – Solar cell efficiency reaches 14%.
  • 1962 – The Telstar communications satellite is powered by solar cells.
  • 1967 – Soyuz 1 is the first manned spacecraft to be powered by solar cells.
  • 1983 – Worldwide photovoltaic production goes past 21.3 megawatts, and sales over $250 million.
  • 1985 – Solar cell efficiency reaches 20%.
  • 1994 – Solar cell efficiency reaches 30%.
  • 1999 – Total worldwide installed solar power reaches 1,000 megawatts.
  • 2004 – Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announces proposal to have one million solar roofs in California by 2017.
  • 2006 – Solar cell efficiency reaches 40%.
  • 2007 – The Vatican announces that it will install solar panels to conserve resources.
  • 2015 – Developers of io-on batteries promise to help home owners go completely off-the-grid.