Solar Panels UK

History Of Solar Panels

History Of Solar Panels

Solar panels are a common sight on the roofs of houses and businesses in the UK and they are seen as being vital in the reduction of carbon emissions across the world. Solar panels are designed to use the suns energy and convert it into power that can be used to power and heat buildings. The popularity of this energy source is currently at an all-time high with more and more people becoming aware of the benefits; however, they are not a complete new invention and there is a long history of solar panels and particularly solar energy being used for generations.

How does a solar panel work?

A solar panel is made up of a number of solar cells; each cell is made of two layers of semiconducting material. Upon contact with sunlight, the cell creates an electrical field across the two layers which create energy for the home; the more sunlight a cell receives, the more energy it can produce.

History of solar power

The history of solar panels themselves may be relatively new, but the history of solar power and the ability to harness the suns energy goes back to ancient Greece and around 400 BC. Heating homes with the sun was common practice for Greeks and they would commonly build houses into the side of hills in order store energy from the sun during the day and release it at night. The Romans took the use of solar energy by introducing glass windows and even building glass houses to enhance the growth of plants and seeds, commonly known today as green houses.

The first form of solar collector and was created in 1776 by a man named Horace de Suassare who used a cone shaped collector in order to boil ammonia, but it wasn’t until the 1880’s when solar panels truly took a step forward.

History of the solar panel

The history of solar panels began in the 1880’s when the first photovoltaic cells were built, the cells were made from selenium and were not anywhere near as efficient as those used today, producing around 1%-2% efficiency. Not long after the first photovoltaic cells were introduced, the first solar water heating system was pioneered. This design was patented by an American named Clarence Kemp and became the basis of today’s solar water heating systems.

In 1921 scientist Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize for his work in photoelectric effect; it is from here that solar panels begin to progress and by the 1950’s they had become mainstream. Early solar panel systems proved to be very low in efficiency and far too expensive to mass market, panel sales were also significantly hampered by low oil prices.

The history of solar panels and the systems we see to today began to gain popularity in the 1970’s when the environmental benefits became known and oil prices began to rise. Solar panels began to become a regular part of space technology in the 1970’s and 80’s by the 1990’s they had become fully mainstream and popularity has grown ever since.   

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