Solar panels - 60 years

    Exactly 60 years ago, on April 25, 1954, specialists at Bell Laboratories announced the creation of the first silicon-based solar panels to produce electric current.

    Photo of the first solar panels in Look magazine in 1956


    This discovery was made by three employees of the company - Calvin Souther Fuller (Calvin Souther Fuller), Daryl Chapin (Daryl Chapin) and Gerald Pearson (Gerald Pearson).

    Although the path to this discovery began long before 1954. German Heinrich Hertz (the same Hertz ), Russian scientist Alexander Stoletov, and even Albert Einstein were engaged in research in this field .

    The first solar panels in the mid-50s seemed only a technological toy, no more. After all, a solar cell cell that produced 1 watt of electricity cost $ 250, and not current dollars. And electricity was 100 times more expensive than electricity from a conventional CHP. The efficiency of such batteries was about 6%.

    It was the time of the boom in space research and, of course, the potential of solar cells was rightly appreciated in this industry. After 4 years, on March 17, 1958, the first satellite with solar batteries, Vanguard 1, was launched in the United States. By the way, it is still in Earth orbit. After just a couple of months, on May 15, 1958, the Sputnik-3 was launched in the USSR, also using solar panels.

    But for a long time, solar panels were used only for space and a rather small list of tasks. The energy obtained in this way was too expensive. After 22 years, in 1977, the cost dropped to $ 76 per 1 watt cell.
    But gradually, research in the field of solar cells made it possible to increase the efficiency to 15% by the mid-90s of the last century, and by the beginning of the 21st century, the efficiency began to reach 20%. Over the past decade, a big step has been taken and efficiency values ​​of 26% have been achieved . Cost has fallen below $ 1 and continues to fall.


    Now solar cells are used everywhere - in space and on the ground, in cheap calculators and in cellular communication repeaters in the Siberian taiga .
    Let's hope that solar energy will become even more affordable in the near future.

    Links to interesting articles about solar energy:
    1. "Solar energy: the hope of mankind?"
    2.Solar Impulse 2 aircraft will travel around the world
    3. Germany set a record for solar energy: 22 GWh

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