Did you know that the idea of solar energy started way back in 1876? 143 years ago, William Adams discovered that when selenium is exposed to sunlight, it produces electricity. Fast forward 80 years later, and the first commercial solar cells were born! At that time in 1956, solar cost was far from the reasonable price it is today at a staggering $300 for a 1 watt solar cell. In 1956, the common person originally started seeing solar in small toys and radios. Another interesting fact about solar in the 1950’s and 1960’s is that it was a major tool in the USA vs. Soviet space race program.
In 1970, the solar industry truly began to turn a corner. Exxon was the primary driver of this. They invested research into solar cells that would power the warning lights on the top of their rigs. This brought the price all the way down to around $20 per watt. Over the next 30 years through the 1990’s, we saw several changes directly from solar. Solar cells were used in microwave towers to expand telecommunication capabilities. They also began showing up on railroad crossings and even in remote places to help power homes. One of the most impressive accomplishments was the ability to bring water to the soil in desert regions where line fed power was not an option.
Today, solar energy is a powerful solution for any home or business and it’s more affordable than ever. Nearly 150 years of improvements in technology have paved a way for solar energy to become a centerpiece for our civilization to build around. Thanks to the many scientists and engineers that have stayed dedicated to this industry, the ability to eliminate your electric bill and create sustainable energy independence is now available to everyone.