It 鈥檚 clear for all to see, twelve hours of the day, all around the world, the Sun, the largest source of energy known to man and up until relatively recently a completely wasted energy source. It has only been in recent years that solar panels have been somewhat 鈥榳 idely 鈥?implemented and this is increasing all the time, but the history of these solar panels goes back much further than that. Initially a few industrial companies harnessed the power of the sun to heat water and create steam to run machinery, this was then shortly followed byHenri Becquerel 鈥檚 discovery of the possibility of producing electricity from the sun 鈥檚 rays, although this was initially very inefficient and the power could not be fully harnessed. Although this didn 鈥檛 stop the fascination with harnessing the sun 鈥檚 energy and the first 鈥榮 olar cell 鈥?was created in the 1860 鈥檚 by Charles Fritts. These initial Solar PV cells were very inefficient converting only around 1% of the light into electricity, but with continued research and development this was later increased to around 5%. This technology was not domestically used until much later on in its history and initial applications were for government funded research programmes such as satellites. By the 1960 鈥檚 it was the most commonly used technology to power such programmes. After this the cost of implementing PV solar panels decreased significantly during the 1970 鈥檚, so much so that it made it a valid option for some private companies that did not currently have national grid access; the increasing demand for solar panels then lead to decreased manufacturing costs due to the economies of scale, making the installation of the panels even cheaper yet again. Then the history of these panels seems to falter a little. With reduced investment from 1984 up until 1996 as well as the reducing price of oil during this period meant that solar panels were somewhat left on the back burner. But as prices of fossil fuels yet again increased, people 鈥檚 knowledge of their carbon footprint increased and the need for a viable and realistic source of renewable energy was required, so the solar panel was revived. Many companies as well as home owners across the world now use solar PV panels to produce their electricity, with Germany being the leading PV market. The new feed in tariff systems in both Germany and the UK have worked as a great incentive for more companies and homeowners turning to solar power. Its clear to see from this history that as solar panels have gradually decreased in cost their adoption has rapidly increased, so much so that they are now used in over one hundred countries around the world. Many home owners now harness the power of the sun to run their homes and save money. In another fifty years time could it be possible that every home in developed countries will be using solar PV panels to generate their electricity, well it doesn 鈥檛 seem that far off that 鈥檚 for sure. About The Energy Conservation Group - we are one of the UK's leading installers of renewable energy systems. We are MCS certificated and we supply and fit over 40 systems a week. Solar PV energy is clean, free and safe, it can convert sunlight into electricity, even on cloudy days, and investing in solar panels now comes with a government-backed, guaranteed return!
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