Solar has come a long way since the first people used the energy of the sun to light fires. In more contemporary times solar use has traveled to space, out to sea and on to rooftops near you.

Here are some of the milestones:

1883 – Charles Fritts designed the first photovoltaic cell

1905 – Albert Einstein discovered the photoelectric effect [Nobel Prize in 1921]

1918 – Jan Czochralski grew the first single-crystal silicone

1954 – The first photovoltaic cell was created by Bell Labs

1956 – Solar cells became commercially available

1950’s and 60’s – PV was used on satellites, space crafts, off-grid at sea or remote areas

1973 – “Solar One” built, one of the world’s first PV powered residences

1977 – The Solar Energy Research Institute was created

1981 – First solar-powered airplane was built

1982 – First solar-powered car was built

1983 – Worldwide solar production grew from 9.3 MW in 1982 to 21.6 MW (1 year)

1993 – The first grid supported system was completed in California

2019 – More than 2 million homes have PV systems. Solar production is 71,300 MW

2024 – Forecast: 1 solar panel installation per minute

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