History of Solar Power

As a technology that has been around for well over a century, solar power is neither novel nor new.

solar rooftop


The power of the sun is what makes life on Earth possible. Efforts to harness solar energy in concentrated form have long been a human pursuit. Solar technology has existed since the 19th century and has received substantial government support since at least the 1970s. Despite vast amounts of subsidies, solar power comprises less than 1 percent of US electricity generation[1] and should no longer be propped up by taxpayer dollars.

Initial Development of Solar Power

The development of solar cell technology, or photovoltaic (PV) technology, began during the Industrial Revolution when French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerellar first demonstrated the photovoltaic effect, or the ability of a solar cell to convert sunlight into electricity, in 1839.[2] About four decades later, American inventor Charles Fritts created the world’s first rooftop solar array in New York in 1883, one year after Thomas Edison opened the world’s first commercial coal plant.


6 Comments on History of Solar Power

  1. Once again the Technology will hang fire until the material science can produce a better panel.
    One that doesn’t trap so much silver in a panel that can’t be retrieved, and doesn’t lose it’s effectiveness in less than 10 years.
    When it’s solar’s time you won’t be able to change infrastructure fast enough.
    Until then you’re buying transitional technology, like digital audio tape.
    It’s a great idea, and it will be a part of the future. It has some effective uses now. On the way to Yuma there’s a bug solar farm that uses parabolic mirrors to focus solar radiation onto a tube in the center of the panel. They probably make steam and power generators and the like.
    The power is free, the lunch is not.

  2. What we need are better storage batteries – vastly greater energy and power densities. Now that we know that gravity waves exist, maybe there is some way of storing energy in/as warped space?

  3. Solar may have benefits for small scale home ops in specific areas while remaining tied to the grid.

    Otherwise, boondoggle. PURPA and all.

    Or buy lots of squirrels. And peanuts.

  4. @ Lazlo: As a former DAThead, I couldn’t agree with you more. WTF am I gonna do with 3000 hours of live music on DAT no one wants to hear?

    I still have the rig. I’ll break it out for young hippy friends when I’m like 80 or so, blow ’em away.

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