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Inventors produced the very first solar collector In 1908, bearing a resemblance to the solar collectors commonly used today. The world experienced a shortage of energy during World War 2. In turn, leading to an increase in passive solar buildings in the USA. This eventually led to the creation of the first silicon photovoltaic cell in 1954. In contrast to the previous use of Selenium, this had the ability to generate enough power to run electrical equipment.
At this early stage of use, the solar efficiency was only 4%. Far lower than the 20% we see today. However, this proved the catalyst for more solar-powered devices becoming readily available on the market.
Additionally, solar technologies began heating water in commercial properties.
At this point, solar cells started to become an integral aspect of the design of satellites. Solar still powers satellites today.
In 1970, things began to change again. Engineers developed silicon solar cells, a cheaper alternative. This resulted in the commercialization of solar panels which ultimately made them suitable for domestic use.
As the technology continued to gather momentum, the widespread and possibilities of using solar across many different applications became more feasible. In turn. creating a whole new level of possibilities. Solar could now provide energy to power cars and even airplanes. Meanwhile, solar farms began to increase in popularity as a result of the capacity to generate electricity on a larger scale.