History of Solar Power in the world

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The Indian government has made solar power the cornerstone of its energy policy. In Gujarat, almost every home has a solar PV system installed on the rooftops. ANP Solar is a leading installer of home solar systems in India and in Gujarat, so this is something we have been a part of.
But have you wondered how innovations in solar panels developed over time and spread across the world? The history of solar power in the world actually began way back in the 3rd century BC, when the great Greek scientist Archimedes destroyed Roman ships by focusing concentrated beams of sun rays at them using brass shields. This made the Roman ships burst into flames and Greece was saved!
But we are more interested in the recent history of solar power. It was in 1876 when a scientist by the name of William Grylls Adams found out that when selenium was exposed to light, electricity was created.
This was an important discovery because that was the first time that it was proven that light could be converted into electricity without the application of heat or mechanical power. That was the first time a photovoltaic cell was used.
The first silicon solar cell was invented in 1953 by Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson, and Daryl Chapin. This cell produced just enough electricity to run small electrical devices. The New York Times hailed the invention, calling it “the beginning of a new era”.
The first solar cells were commercially produced in 1956. But they were too expensive and beyond the means of most people, with a 1 watt solar cell costing as much as $300. These cells were used to power toys and radios.
The innovations in solar cells continued through the 1950s and 1960s at NASA. Solar power was critical to the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The first solar panel was used in satellites such as Explorer VI and VII and Telstar 1.
The costs were still too high, and it was only in the late 1970s, when Dr. Elliot Berman designed an affordable solar cell that slashed the prices by 80% that solar panels became commercially viable.
In 1972, the Institute of Energy Conversion was established for further research into photovoltaic cells, and in 1973 the first Solar PV-powered house called as “Solar One”, was built.
It was in the 1980s and 1990s that solar PV systems hit the mainstream, and an increasing number of houses and buildings were powered by solar energy. A solar powered airplane, Icare, flew over Germany in 1996.
By now, home solar systems on rooftops are a common sight in India and Gujarat. With mounting electricity costs, solar PV systems are more attractive than ever before. Also, since solar energy is environmentally friendly, it is considered by many to be the energy resource of the future.

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