How Long Has Solar Power Been Around?

By Contributing Writer

Ever since ancient Romans installed glass and mica around their southern-facing door entrances, people have been finding ways to harness the power of the sun. From those origins, solar energy has slowly progressed into a viable source for powering your home.

History

August Mouchout is credited with the creation of the first active solar motor. In 1861, he developed a steam engine fueled completely by the sun.

Significance

While better known for being the co-discoverer of radioactivity, Henri Becquerel was the first to observe the photovoltaic-sunlight generating electricity process in 1890.

Fun Fact

In 1921, Albert Einstein won the Nobel prize in physics for his research on the photoelectric effect.

Benefits

The precursor to the modern day solar cell was created in 1953 at Bell Laboratories when researchers Gerald Pearson, Daryl Chapin and Calvin Fuller developed the fist silicon solar cell with the ability to generate a measurable electric current.

Considerations

Modern day solar power panels convert about 12 to 15 percent of the sun's energy into electricity, which is four times more efficient than the panels being made just a few years ago.