Solar Energy Simplified
What is Solar Energy
Solar energy is a form of renewable energy as it utilizes the radiant energy
coming from the sun. This is done by converting sunlight into electricity
using solar cells.
Solar cells or photovoltaics were invented in the 1880’s by Charles Fritts.
Although it did not convert a lot of sunlight into electricity at the time, this
started a revolution that continued on to the 20th century. The greatest
example is perhaps the Vanguard 1 which was a satellite fitted with solar
cells that enabled it to transmit back to earth after its chemical battery was
It success prompted NASA and its Russian counterpart to the same with
other satellites including Telstar which continues to serve as the backbone
of the telecommunications structure today.
The most significant event that stimulated the demand for solar energy was
the 1973 oil crisis. Early on, power companies would charge the consumer
a hundred dollars per watt. In the 1980’s, it became only $7 per watt.
Unfortunately, the lack of government funding did not sustain its growth so
the growth of solar energy was only 15% annually from 1984 to 1996.
There have been a decline in the demand for solar energy in the US but