The History of Solar Power

Brilliant inventors and engineers have made great strides in harnessing the power of the sun and converting it into electricity. As one of the greatest discoveries, the concept of solar energy has evolved over many years of human history and has given mankind a more sustainable future.

A Timeline of Solar Power

700 B.C.

Ancient civilizations began using magnifying glass to concentrate the sun’s rays to make a fire. Greeks and Romans used mirrors to light torches and burn enemy ships.


William Grylls Adams and his student, Richard Day discovered that selenium, a solid material, produced electricity when it was exposed to light.


French Physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered light-electricity conversion after experimenting with metal electrodes.


American inventor Charles Fritts developed the first photovoltaic solar cells using selenium wafers.


Nikola Tesla received a patent for the “method of utilizing, and apparatus for the utilization of, radiant energy.”


Albert Einstein made his mark on the solar industry by publishing a paper on theory behind “photoelectric effect.”


Thomas Edison described the invaluable power of the sun, saying, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”


Bell Labs exhibited the first high-power silicon PV cell which was anticipated to lead to a source of limitless energy of the sun. A year later, the world’s first solar-powered automobile was demonstrated at an auto show.


Satellites and space stations began using solar power. Beginning in the 1960’s, solar power was the standard for powering space bound satellites.


Solar cell engineering became more efficient, cutting PV costs down 80%.


Solar power developed into a popular source for a wide variety of applications, including calculators, radios, lanterns, railroads, electronic devices, irrigation, cars, remote homes, and energy plants.


Worldwide installed photovoltaic power reached 1000 megawatts.


Residential solar installation became more affordable for American households.  The average prices of PV panels in the U.S. fell to $2.71 per watt, down 63 percent since 2010. Furthermore, the solar market grew a record 41% in 2013.

Solar technology has quickly evolved into one of the most affordable and efficient sources of energy. As a result, it has become more accessible to everyone.

Solar Power is Here to Stay

The evolution of solar technology has been a slow but worthwhile development. What started as concentrating the sun’s heat to light fires developed into solar-powered buildings, airplanes, and vehicles. Due to advanced technology, affordability, eco-friendliness, and long-term financial savings, there has never been a better time to switch to solar. Trust your home to one of the largest solar providers in Utah and Idaho. Call us today at (801) 447-2730 to request a free consultation and begin living the solar lifestyle.