Solar Power Is Finally Making Its Big Breakthrough
The cost of the original cell phone was $3,339.00, the first flat panel TV around $15,000, and the first in-home microwave oven $1,295.00. These prices aren’t just outrageous to us today; they’re hard to imagine. Well, all new technology has to start somewhere. And it’s obvious that neither cost nor cumbersomeness will hinder that progression. This is so painfully true that for decades, technology was developed without thinking of the consequences on health and the environment. But today we’re actually creating technology solely for those reasons and for the purpose of cost-effective energy efficiency.
Solar power has a very long history. The usefulness of the sun’s energy has been evident since the time of the Greek Empire and maybe even since the pharaohs in Egypt. What has taken so long for us is the development of devices that can harness it and redirect it in an effective, cost-efficient, and controlled manner. Considering this massive fireball has “always been there,” it seems puzzling why it has taken longer to find ways to use its energy than it has taken to develop man-made things like computers and video cameras.
As with all tech, solar panels are becoming more and more affordable and available from multiple sources. While there have been usable power cells in some form since the late 1800s, making them produce enough electricity to be of any benefit has been challenging.
All solar power cells start with silicon, as it absorbs the sun’s energy. The arrangement and shapes of the cells have much to do with their efficiency and production cost. All these factors come into play when deciding to “go solar.”
Today, you can get tiny devices to take hiking or for charging cell phones, panels to put on the roof of your RV, and full arrays for your home or business. You can also get flexible ones that bend into unusual places in order to catch a greater amount of light for more efficiency and then roll up for storage. Remember your first “light”-powered calculator? We’ve come a long way in a short time.
By the 1970s, experimentation and expansion exploded in places like governments and big corporations. The sun’s energy has been used for satellites and space stations as well as the White House, offshore oil rigs, and railroad crossings. Its expansion into residential areas and commercial spaces has steadily increased.
Residential companies are springing up all over to provide education, installation, and integration into existing electric grids. The more experience that gets tucked under the collective belt, the more legislation is opening up to invite our oldest powerhouse to charge up our world as we enter the future. Assuredly, solar power has arrived and is here to stay.