A brief history of solar technology
Created by laurenbiron on Aug 14, 2011
Last updated: 08/17/11 at 04:24 PM
Tags: solar environment energy sun
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The spring deadline passed, but Energy Secretary Steven Chu's promise of placing solar panels on the White House remains unrealized. The solar panels are still in the "procurement process," with the DOE not commenting on when the panels might go up on the roof.
President Mohamed Nasheed helped install solar panels on his residence in the Maldives.
At the GreenGov Symposium, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that solar panels would return to the White House roof before summer 2011.
Canada's Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant is the largest in the world, generating approximately 97 megawatts.
India's Roshni initiative is focused on creating green and sustainable habitats. It led to incorporating solar power into the layout of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president's residence.
Under President George W. Bush, the National Park System installed solar panels on a maintenance building and on the cabana near the outdoor swimming pool.
In real can-do spirit, Home Depot began selling home solar kits in its San Diego, Calif., stores. The kits eventually expanded to more than 60 stores, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
President George H. W. Bush redesignated the Solar Energy Research Institute as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It is "the only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, development, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies."
President Ronald Reagan removed the solar panels from the White House in 1986 and allowed the solar tax benefits to expire.
The largest solar thermal power station in the world is Solar Energy Generating Systems, located in the Mojave Desert in California. It can produce 354 megawatts.
Boeing and SERI (Solar Energy Research Institute) researchers invented the first thin-film solar cell that could achieve greater than 10 percent efficiency.
President Jimmy Carter dedicated the solar panels on top of the White House. At the dedication, he said: “A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people – harnessing the power of the sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.”
The Department of Energy was created in response to the oil crisis in the 70s. One of the goals of the new department was to research and develop energy technologies.
The Solar Energy Research Development and Demonstration Act established SERI, an organization seeking to harness the power of the sun.
Solar panels provided electric power for NASA's satellite, Vanguard 1. It is the oldest satellite still in orbit. Solar panels have powered many of the items sent into space - including the International Space Station, which boasts 262,400 solar cells - enough to cover more than half of a football field.
Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin invented the first solar panels in 1954. They had only 6 percent efficiency.
Russell Ohl became the first inventor to incorporate silicon into solar cells.
Charles Fritts used gold and selenium (rather than the silicon that is typically used today) to create the first solar cell in 1883.