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The SCIENTIFIC was dedicated to exploring the future of energy beyond the carbon era. The editors share a sobering outlook:

“Decades may pass before hydrogen-powered trucks and cars relegate gasoline-and fuelled vehicles to antique auto shows.”

Until that happens, we’ll “muddle-through” somehow. (Scientific American: 3)

But why does it take so long for some energy technologies to get from the lab and industrial applications to the service of consumers? Take solar panels, for example.

A high-street electronics chain in London now sells educational solar-power kits for around the £20 mark. Serious, roof-dwelling solar panels that will power equipment in your home sell in DIY superstores at around £2,500. That’s a price-tag for the wealthy or very committed, but at least consumers can push their trolleys past the technology

SOLAR PANELS HAVE ONLY RECENTLY APPEARED on the shelves of retail outlets, so you’d forgive them for posing as new technology. But they’re not. While England was priming itself for what was to become its most famous World Cup, a contributor to the July 1966 edition of Wireless World faced a copy deadline for the magazine. His name was D. Bollen, and he provided a circuit for a solar-powered battery charger.

As he put it: “The ability of solar cells to convert sunlight directly into useful electrical energy has been well demonstrated in satellite applications. An advantage of the solar battery is that is allows true, unattended operation in locations remote from a power supply and promises an outstanding degree of reliability.” (Wireless World: 343)

Over four meticulously-illustrated pages, Bollen goes on to provide a blueprint for a circuit that will trickle-charge a battery from a solar cell. Bollen shows that you can run something that uses one Milli amp of current for “2.74 hours” in a 24 hour period. He leaves us guessing what application he had in mind for this tiny current, but the rig could also have powered the bulb of a toy torch for a few seconds a day.

Still, the circuit is there and the date is mid-1966. Do not be distracted by Bollenis talk of satellite applications. His circuit is a million miles from rocket-science and in fact it is the simplest of the bunch in this edition of a magazine that was pitched at everyone between novice constructor and electronics professional.

Someone with barely any experience could have thrown a demonstration version of this circuit together in fifteen minutes flat. And all the parts were available from specialist suppliers in London and south-east England.

The listed supplier for ‘assorted selenium and silicon cells’ is International Rectifier. I contacted the company to find out how much a similar solar-cell cost at the time Bollen wrote his feature.

A single cell measuring about a centimeter by two centimeters cost four dollars, right up to 1966. In his feature, Bollen describes various combinations between one cell and four, so the most expensive part of his circuit cost between four and 16 dollars, or about $25-100 dollars in today’s money.

World’s first solar-powered car: 1912

But what came back from International Rectifier (IR) proved far more interesting than price information. It turns out that the company had demonstrated the world’s first solar-powered car – a 1912 model of the Baker Electric – as early as 1958. They achieved the stunt by making a high-output solar panel – less than two meters long and just over a meter wide – from a whole bank of little solar cells.

Commercial, industrial and military customers went on to buy solar panels from International Rectifier.

SO WHY HAS IT TAKEN ALMOST FIFTY YEARS for solar panels to reach our shops?

Southface, a non-profit, sustainable-living organization based in the USA, point out that solar-cell technology has had been uselessly competing against the relative fall in price that occurred in the fossil-fuel market in the nineties.

But Southface believe that major orders of consumer solar cell units in countries such as Japan may finally signal the start of an era when solar cell production will benefit from economies of scale.

I hope so. In the meantime, it’s anyone’s guess how long will it take for the consumer-led technology revolution to swat our energy problems.

Power Solar Panels

French physicist Edmond Becquerel has discovered the process of turning solar energy into electricity which is also known as the process of photovoltaic effect. He has found this technology almost two centuries ago in the year 1839. He has discovered selenium which is a specific material that reacts to light. This technology has made certain strides since 1800’s where the initial tests converted less than 1% of applied light to electricity. Now, it becomes easier for a homeowner to install rooftop solar panels to convert energy into electricity for domestic purpose.

Solar panel has been extensively used to converting the sun’s light energy into electrical power which becomes a smart energy option for domestic as well as commercial purposes. Now, low cost solar panels have been used for the domestic customers on a large scale that helps you enjoying maximum savings on your electricity bulls by installing high efficiency solar panels. Keeping such sorts of under budget yet advanced solar energy systems would help you saving your time and money a lot by getting fixed on the top of your roofs. Get the professionals services to quick installation of such solar panels and thus, makes your home energy-efficient.

Easy Apply Method

Top quality equipments have been used to bring forth high performance solar panels that ensures high performance in both domestic as well as commercial applications. Engineers who have developed such an excellent solar panels have done enough homework in order to ensure optimum work-flow to provide you feasibility by taking into account your local weather, roof space, architecture and energy-consumption needs. Once you inform about your specific need, you will get it installed on your roof as you need not to give extra space for mounting solar panels for essential purposes.

Well-proven commercial and residential solar panels ensures long term sustainability along with high energy yield according to the climatic conditions.

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