Solar cells – Reflecting both a gases demand and a ray of light for our future


IT WAS IN 1839 that Antoine-César discovered the photovoltaic (PV) effect, while experimenting with a solid electrode in an electrolyte solution.

The first commercial applications of this discovery were seen only in the 1930s, when selenium or copper oxide cells were employed as photometers in photography.

The silicon solar cell was then developed by Russell Ohl in 1941 and first demonstrated conversion efficiency exceeding 1% and soon after, exceeded 6%. By the late 1980s, 20% efficiency had been exceeded and in 1989 a concentrator solar cell achieved an efficiency
of 37%.

Evolution has been swift since then too. Today solar energy is gaining recognition as the leading alternative energy source for the 21st century, with analysts predicting that the contribution of solar energy to world supply will grow from 0.3% to 15% over the next five years.

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