Solar Panel History Part 2

More people are deciding to go solar every year. Going solar will reduce or eliminate your electric bill, earn a good return for your investment, increase your property value, protect against rising energy costs, and protect the environment by cutting your consumption of non-renewable energy.

The second section of Solar Panel History brings us from about 75 years ago to today! Jumping to the 1950s, Silicon solar cells began to be produced commercially for the first time after the Bell Laboratories discovered that semiconducting materials like silicon were more efficient at conducting electricity from solar energy than selenium, which had  been used since the 1870s. D.M. Chapin, C.S. Fuller, and G.L Pearson were behind this. Solar efficiency jumped to 6 percent, a huge leap for that age, though still in practice for most people to purchase due to their high manufacturing cost. The first building the integrated solar panels into the rooftop to generate energy for its use was “Solar One” in 1973.

Figure 1″Solar Converting Apparatus”, February 5, 1957 (

Around this time the energy crisis in the US began to emerge, and the US government began funding more heavily into renewable energy. Congress passed the Solar Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 1974 to “to make solar viable and affordable and market it to the public.” After people saw Solar One, they became inspired to get solar energy onto their rooftops too and produce it for their home. Though there was a short drop in solar sales due to a declining energy market in the 1980s, overall during the next decades, the federal government became more involved with solar energy research and development. It began creating grants and tax incentives for to help Americans afford to go solar. In 2006, the Solar Investment Tax Credit helped solar become even more affordable, making installation costs falling 70 percent in the last decade. Solar growth had been increasing at a rate of 50 percent in the last decade, the largest increase ever.

Figure 2″Photovoltaic Roof Tile” patented June 26, 2018, by SolarCity Corporation (

Over time solar energy is becoming more common on the energy marketplace and more affordable. Another major change that we see today in panel design has to do with aesthetics and smaller improvements in efficiency and cost. To increase purchases of solar panels for more Americans, panel aesthetics have been improving, making them less noticeable from afar and more “sleek”. For example, through the construction of building-applied photovoltaic, a type of discrete solar cell integrated into existing roof tiles or ceramic and glass sides of buildings. Influential companies like Guardian Industries Corporation, United Solar Systems, and Tesla have been integrating solar panels into their equipment that are both efficient and aesthetically pleasing. More Americans are getting solar today, which is why we are here to help you with the entire installation process from beginning to end, and be there to help post-installation. It is true that solar energy has come a long way in the past 181 years.