When Was Solar Energy Discovered?


Quick Answer

In 1876, William Grylls Adams and Richard Day produced a small amount of electricity by exposing selenium to light. This marked the first time someone was able to convert light into electricity without the aid of heat or motion.

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Full Answer

Solar energy improved in 1953 when Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson and Daryl Chapin discovered the silicon solar cell. This was the first practical application of solar energy, as the cell created enough electricity to run small electrical devices.

By 1956, solar cells became available commercially. The price of $300 per 1 watt cell, however, was far more than the average consumer could afford. In the early 1970s, Exxon discovered a way to lower the cost of solar cells to $20 per watt, making them more affordable for consumers.

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