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Founded in 1979, Solar Oregon is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit membership organization providing public education and community outreach to encourage Oregonians to choose solar energy.
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What is the history of solar electricity?

The first solar cell was created in 1883. It was inefficient by today’s standards, turning only one to two percent of sunlight into electricity. The breakthrough in solar cell technology came in 1954 when researchers at Bell Laboratories stumbled across the photovoltaic properties of silicon while experimenting with new transistor technologies. Three years later, PV research began in earnest to develop an independent solar energy source for space technologies. Thanks to continuing research, modern commercial PV cells have improved to 11-15% efficiency.

The first solar cell was created in 1883. It was inefficient by today’s standards, turning only one to two percent of sunlight into electricity. The breakthrough in solar cell technology came in 1954 when researchers at Bell Laboratories stumbled across the photovoltaic properties of silicon while experimenting with new transistor technologies. Three years later, PV research began in earnest to develop an independent solar energy source for space technologies. Thanks to continuing research, modern commercial PV cells have improved to 11-15% efficiency.

Historically PVs have been used extensively in areas that are not served by a power grid. As PV prices have dropped and grid energy has become more expensive, PV systems are increasingly used in grid-tied applications.

 
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