It was in the mid 18th century when the idea of turning the sun’s rays into mechanical power took its shape. By then, the use of solar power technology was limited to drive machinery, which was done by the help of steam generated by heating water through solar energy plants. Much research and development was conduced by several scientist throughout the world to harness the power of sun light and make its use in several ways.
Charles Fritts invented the first solar cell using junctions formed by coating a thin gold layer on selenium. Following him, Russell Ohl invented the silicon solar cell in the year 1941. Though such cells were not efficient enough to convert the complete sunlight energy into electrical energy through the process of photovoltaics. To increase its efficiency, three American researchers designed silicon solar cell, which had energy conversion efficiency of six percent. After an array of experiments, they connected and assembled the solar cells together and invented solar panel, also known as PV module.
Today’s the solar panels are used in several sectors like:
- Telecommunication & public services
- Residential spaces and more.
Such solar energy products generate electricity to pump water, light up the streets, gardens and public transportation stops, heats the water, supply power to the utility grid, power appliances, telephones and much more. Many institutions, public schools, municipalities, commercial buildings, and major utilities have adopted such technology. Many researches have resulted in the introduction of many solar powered products like solar charger, solar vehicle, solar powered watch, solar powered calculator, solar traffic light, solar lights, solar inverter and many more, the list is endless. People have accepted the solar power technology and are making use of such products in their daily lives.
The future of solar energy in India is bright, as it is a tropical country and many states have potential for tapping such energy. One disadvantage of such system is its expense of installation and maintenance. Research is going on in the PV industry to lower the production cost and hence make the solar products more economical. Though, the government is taking initiatives by proposing many projects. In the year 2014, India’s biggest solar power plant was inaugurated at Diken in Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh. The country has potential to be a solar power driven country of the world.