Everything You wanted To Know About Solar Panels

John Bayliss, president of the Solaron Corporation, the first publicly owned solar energy company in the nation…, 05/1975.
solar energy companies

Image by The U.S. National Archives
Original Caption: John Bayliss, president of the Solaron Corporation, the first publicly owned solar energy company in the nation. The firm used a hot air heating system comprised of flat black aluminum plates behind double glass panels. An insulated bin filled with rocks two inches in diameter is the heat storage system. It is designed for the basement of the average home while the collector panels are fitted to the roof. The corporation is now manufacturing the solar heating and storage system for the mass market, 05/1975.

U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-14876

Photographer: Norton, Boyd

Subjects:
Environmental protection
Natural resources
Pollution
Denver (Colorado, United States) inhabited place

Persistent URL: research.archives.gov/description/557328

Repository: Still Picture Records Section, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-S), National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, 20740-6001.

For information about ordering reproductions of photographs held by the Still Picture Unit, visit: www.archives.gov/research/order/still-pictures.html

Reproductions may be ordered via an independent vendor. NARA maintains a list of vendors at www.archives.gov/research/order/vendors-photos-maps-dc.html

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted
Use Restrictions: Unrestricted

Everything You wanted To Know About Solar Panels

The history of solar panels can be dated back to 1839 as this was the period when French physicist Antoine-Cesar Becquerel made the astonishing discovery of the photovoltaic effect. This surprising discovery took place during an experiment that involved an electrolytic cell made from two metal electrodes and was placed within an electrolyte solution. Antoine-Cesar Becquerel discovered during the experiment that when the electrolytic cells were exposed to light, it produced a certain amount of electricity. The more the light, the more the production of electricity and that is how solar panels actually came into the picture.

Almost 50 years later in 1883, the first solar cell was developed by Charles Fritts and it was formed using selenium coating sheets with a micro-thin layer of gold. Between the period of 1883 and 1941 there were several scientists as well as inventors who with the help of companies started experimenting with solar energy. It was during this period that Clarence Kemp, an inventor from Baltimore patented the first ever commercial water heater that was being powered by solar energy. Apart from this, the great scientist Albert Einstein also published a thesis on photoelectric effect and within a short period of time received the coveted Nobel Prize for his thesis and valuable research.

Around 1941, an American inventor named Russell Ohl who was working for Bell Laboratories patented the first ever silicon solar cell. This new invention was spearheaded by the Bell Laboratories and they went on to produce the first ever crystalline silicon solar panel in the year 1954. This was the most effective solar cells in that era as it achieved a 4 percent return on overall energy conversion. In the next few years several scientists from all over the world continued their research, study and experimentation to improve upon the original solar cells and started producing solar cells that gave 6% efficiency on overall energy conversion.

The first ever large scale deployment and use of solar energy ever recorded was in space satellites. USA was the first country to enable production of solar cells that gave 20% efficiency and this was in the year 1980. By 2000, USA had produced several solar cells that were producing 24% efficiency. Last year, two large companies, Emcore Photovoltaics and Spectrolab rose to dominate the world of solar cell production by producing cells that gave 28% efficiency.

Working of Solar Panels

The solar panel basically consists of pure silicon. Silicon is first stripped of all its impurities and hence provides the most ideal neutral platform for enhancing the transmission of electrons. In its natural state, Silicon can carry at the max four electrons although it has the ability to carry eight. So mathematically speaking it has enough room for 4 more electrons.

When a silicon atom is made to come into contact with a second silicon atom then each of them receive each other’s extra four electrons. So the 8 electrons satisfy a single silicon atoms’ needs and this results in the creations of a strong bond but the fact is that there are no negative or positive charges. To produce a large piece of pure silicon, the silicon atoms have to go through the process of combination for years. Once the pure silicon is ready, it is applied on to the plates of solar panels. When silicon is combined with other elements then it produces a positive or negative charge.

Solar panels are being looked as the provider of tomorrow as the other forms of creating electricity are getting replenished by the day. There are several online sources and websites who are selling solar panels with a power range that varies from 10WP to 280WP.

Solar Energy Companies

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