First Solar Panels
Understanding The First Solar Panels.
First solar panel:
Back in the late 1800's with the creation of the first solar cell, solar panels
were the next logical step in the evolution of such a useful technological advance.
However before green technology became so popular, such a device was unappreciated
and viewed as impractical.
Surprisingly, the first known panel relied on direct sunlight to operate, unlike
modern solar panels which can run on ambient light. The first solar panel was not
actually a panel as we have come to know the term today. It was actually shaped
more like a crystal ball and ran by sunlight reacting to selenium encased in the
circular glass bulb.
Amazingly, this original solar panel was recently found tucked away in a box for
safe keeping. More astounding is the fact that the panel still worked after being
packaged for 60 years! The inventor responsible for its creation was a science
teacher who spent years of his own time proving his creation could actually be
built. He did not realize it would actually have enough power to run anything,
he just believed it was something that could be designed successfully.
The amount of electricity this original panel produces can run a digital watch
in the modern world. While 1.5 volts of electricity may not be much by today's
standards, sixty years ago it was quite a feat. The name of the teacher and
inventor has not been released, but a distant relative from Surrey, England
has kindly sold the piece to a dealer who has made it available for public
view by displaying it at Chiltern Antiques in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire,
The 3 big names associated with solar panel development are Charles Fritts the
founder of basic solar technology. Mr. Fritts' device was not deemed efficient
and turned out to be nothing like modern day solar models. Russian physicist,
Aleksandr Stoletov, brought the idea further along when he developed a more
reliable cell. Russell Ohm, perfected the science and patented the idea of an
improved solar cell which formed the modern day solar panel.
The purpose of solar panels has remained the same, to provide electricity using
energy from the sun to produce a reliable clean power source. Tracing the history
of solar cells and early solar panels makes for better appreciation of how far
science has come in utilizing and appreciating the greatest source of natural
energy given to humankind.
Such early inventions now make it possible for millions of people to benefit from
harnessing the power of the sun and incorporating such raw resources into an easier
existence. Flipping on a light switch is not followed with much thought about how
electricity is manufactured, viewing solar technology impresses on the mind just
what is involved in powering inventions, whether it be a digital watch or metropolitan
Terms such as electric current, electrons, positive and negative minerals, solar cells
and photoelectric effect are commonplace words for those involved in producing solar
energy. We are ever more appreciative of the large part played by the earliest inventors
who invested time and resources to bring such technology to its present day levels.
The preserving of the sixty year old solar panel is an invaluable discovery.