Photovoltaic Discoveries


Edmond Becquerel, a French physicist examined spectroscopic and photochemical phenomena. He was fascinated with the difference between fluorescence and phosphorescence and he designed a phosphoroscope, a device capable of measuring the duration of time between the exposure of a solid, liquid, or gas to a light source and the substanceďż˝s exhibition of phosphorescence. This tool was not only an aid in the development of photographic film, but it also helped Edmond discover the photovoltaic effect. 

1839 Becquerel  discovers the photovoltaic effect

1879 Adams and Day observe photovoltaic effect in selenium

1900 Plank postulates the quantum nature of light

1930 Quantum theory of solids proposed by  Wilson

1940  Mott and Schottky develop the theory of solid-state rectifier (diode)

1949 Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley invent the  transistor

1954 Chapin, Fuller and Pearson hChapin, Fuller and Pearson  announce 6% efficient solar cell

1954 Renolds et al. report solar cell based on cadmium sulphide

1958 First use of solar cells on an orbiting satellite Vanguard 1

1973 Oil crisis spurs growth of terrestial applications

1982 First photovoltaic_power_station built at Hysperia, California<



Today photovoltaic power generating stations  are springing up in sunbelt areas all over the world. Sometimes the PV stations are joined with windmill generators so that power may be generated under a variety of weather conditions.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturers produced a record 10,700 megawatts of PV cells globally in 2009 a 51% increase from the year before. Solar PV is the world's fastest-growing power technology that now generates electricity in more than 100 countries.

There are two broad categories of PV: crystalline silicon and thin-film. Crystalline silicon cells account for more than 80 percent of the annual PV market. But thin-film PV, a relatively new technology that is less efficient but also less expensive to make and potentially adaptable to more applications, is gaining ground. In fact, First Solar, a thin-film company headquartered in Arizona with most of its production capacity in Malaysia, was the top PV manufacturing firm in 2009, contributing roughly 10 percent of world PV production.


The trend toward increasing photovoltaic production should be obvious. It has been spurred on by: tax rebate incentives, the increasing cost of energy and  recent technological innovations. China is a world leader in PV production due to the low cost of labor in heavily populated areas. 

Germany was one of the first countries to implement a feed-in tariff. Due to its widespread success, the model has now become a template for many other countries since. However, due to this success, the government will  cut subsidies by about 13%. 

Our civilization is now entering a "solar age" sooner than many have anticipated. Change of any kind always brings stress, and global change brings global stress, but the human race must adjust to a world with a limited supply of oil to survive in this new age of enlightenment.  We must stop burning precious non renewable resources and learn to connect directly with natural sources of energy. 

In the future more homes will look like the one below. We are now on the endangered species list and we know it. As Buckminster Fuller once said we have we have wandered too far from the roots. The journey back home will be difficult, but it will be a better path than we are now on.  I hope that some of the information you find on this website makes your journey a little easier. See you on the other side.

PPhtovoltaic Electricity
PV Panel Mounting

PV Installation Guide

DIY Photo-voltaic Installations


Stimulus and Renewable Energy Recovery Bill

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Connecting with Sunshine

Green Solar People

rawberry Fields Solar Book Store

How to Build a Solar Hot Water System
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Photosynthetic Electricity