History of Solar Energy

For more than six decades, Australia has been leading the way for the world to go solar. Government policies have favoured and subsidised the use of solar generated energy which has resulted in one in five houses in Australia now have installed solar panels. From Federal government rebates to feed in tariffs by electricity companies have assured that Australians not only save significant on their power bills but also contribute to keep the environment clean.

Advent of solar era

1839: A French physicist, Alexander Edmund Becquerel, discovered the photovoltaic effect forming the basis for many solar technologies which are being used today.

1873: The world’s first photoconductive solid, Selenium, was found by an English electrical engineer Willoughby Smith, which led to production of solar power without moving paraphernalia.

1883: very first working cells were made by an American electrical engineer Charles Fritts.

1950s: A proud moment for Australia when CSIRO led the  world in research to use solar energy in heating up water and creating world’s first solar hot water systems.

1973: The Oil Crisis of 1973 caused solar water heaters to increase in use in Australian homes, thanks to the skyrocketing cost of energy.

1978: Solar PV panels were adapted from spacecraft for remote area telecommunications by Telecom Australia.

1989: UNSW develops the world’s first solar PV system with 20% efficiency.

2005: Australia is a global leader, being the fourth largest producer of solar energy worldwide.

2014: Australia surpasses four gigawatts of solar capacity, and estimates suggest more than 40% of Queenslanders and South Australians are using solar panels.

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