In 1839 Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect which explains how electricity can be generated from sunlight. He claimed that “shining light on an electrode submerged in a conductive solution would create an electric current.” However, even after much research and development subsequent to the discovery, photovoltaic power continued to be very inefficient and solar cells were used mainly for the purposes of measuring light.
Over 100 years later, in 1941, Russell Ohl invented the solar cell, shortly after the invention of the Transistor.
How solar panels work
Light (photons) striking certain compounds, in particular metals, causes the surface of the material to emit electrons. Light striking other compounds causes the material to accept electrons. It is the combination of these two compounds that can be made use of to cause electrons to flow through a conductor, and thereby create electricity. This phenomenon is called the photo-electric effect. Photovoltaic means sunlight converted into a flow of electrons (electricity).
Solar power is a rapidly developing energy source around the world. Solar panels can generate electricity without any waste or pollution, or dependence on the Earths natural resources. They have no moving parts, are very reliable and have a warrantied life span of more than 25 years, can easely be installed and are almost maintenance-free.