Solar Power Milestone 2 - The History of Solar Power...

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The History of Solar PowerSECTION 1For sake of being upfront and steering this essay, as well as the timeline I am working on for this assignment, I want to point out that my topic of Solar Power is focused strictlyon the use of solar power for electricity. I will not be addressing its uses for sunlight fires in 700 BC, Archimedes’ Heat ray of ~214 BC, or the use of solar ovens starting in the 1760’s.1839 – The Photovoltaic Effect is DiscoveredPhotovoltaics were first discovered by French Physicist Alexander Becquerel. As a young scientist working in his father’s laboratory, he discovered that in the presence of light, silver oxide would glow when electricity was passed through it while in an acidic solution (Solar Central, n.d.). This is the first time where it was discovered that light could produce voltage (read: electricity). 1873 – Selenium is Found to be PhotoconductiveOver 40 years after the discovery of the photovoltaic effect was discovered, research made another great leap forward. Willoughby Smith, a scientist, figured out that in the presence of electromagnetic radiation, selenium would produce electricity (Chaney, 2011). Fortunately, visible light isan electromagnetic radiation! The selenium cells produced by Smith were not enough to power any equipment, but served as a perfect proof of concept that light could generate electricity. 1876 – The First Light Generated ElectricityThis is touched on in the entry for 1873. The viability of selenium was first discovered in 1873, but the creation of the cells wasn’t until 1876.1883 – Photovoltaic Cell is DesignedThe first solar cells were made of selenium wafers (APS Physics, 2009). These were far less useful, and produced far less electricity than the ones we use today. These selenium wafer photovoltaic cells were often less than 1% efficient. The inventor, Charles Fritts, was a true friend of the environment, and he created these cells in hopes of generated a power that would rival the heavily polluting coal fired power plants.1888 – First US Patent for “Solar Cell”Not so much a scientific breakthrough, but a breakthrough nonetheless is the filing for the first patent of the solar cell. An Englishman, Edward Weston is awarded the first patent for the solar cell (Cleveland & Morris, 2014).1918 – Single-Crystal Silicon CreatedThe first creation of single-crystal silicon is a massive step forward for the solar power industry. APolish scientist named Jan Czochralski was the first to create this type of silicon. To this day we still see silicon produced in this fashion, so Czochralski’s creation set the stage for the future development of solar technology (Maehlum, 2013).
1954 – First Photovoltaic Cell is CreatedBell Laboratories was credited with the creation of the first photovoltaic cell. Daryl Chapin was an engineer who was looking to create a source of energy that could sit in remote locations of all types of weather to power the phone systems (APS Physics, 2009). First, Chapin gave the selenium cells a shot,

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