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A Brief History of Solar Panels

Posted on: April 12th, 2019 by Active

An image of the team at Air Conditioning Direct installing solar panels on a large roof.


It was back in 1839 when Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect, explaining how electricity could be generated from sunlight. Since this discovery, more information has surfaced to bring us to where we are today. In the latest post from Air Conditioning Direct, we discuss a brief history of solar panels to shed more light into this environmentally friendly energy generator.

It wasn’t until 100 years later, after Alexandre Edmond Becquerel’s findings that Russell Ohl invented the solar cell in 1941. However, by 1953, information surrounding global warming was beginning to surface, with the word being spread by the press. The knowledge that fossil fuels were depleting meant there was a real need to develop a sustainable energy source.

The first practical photovoltaic cell was developed in the Bell Laboratories in 1954 by Daryl Chaplin, Gerald Pearson and Calvin Souther Fuller. A few years later, photovoltaic cells were being developed for satellites orbiting the Earth. With further developments occurring in the years following, solar power is now the accepted energy source for space application.

The commercialisation of solar power was attempted in the 50’s and 60’s with little success. However, by the 70’s the price of achieving a watt of power dropped and this led to the units being used in remote locations where connecting to the grid was not affordable.

Many years later and solar panels are now widely used on commercial and domestic buildings. In fact, by 2004, Germany had developed a highly successful solar photovoltaics market and Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger had proposed that 1 million solar roofs be created in order to combat global warming.

Air Conditioning Direct

Here at Air Conditioning Direct, we have been providing and installing solar panels and heat pumps for many years. Despite our relatively mild climate in the UK, it is estimated that the city of London still receives around 60% of the energy that is produced at the equator – so solar panels are still definitely worth the investment.

If you would like to find out more about solar panels we welcome you to contact us today. Please call 020 8989 8989 or send your enquiry through to our contact form and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

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Aircon direct have over the years provided a first class service backed up with quality products, Tom will always go well beyond the normal call of duty to ensure projects are delivered to satisfaction
Farhat Abbas, Subway Multi Unit Franchisee, London