Since ancient times, the sun has been revered as a source of light and life. In Egypt, their main god was Ra, the sun god. In Greece, the sun was Helios, the giver of light. Many cultures worshipped the sun, paid homage to it and danced to it. They celebrated its rising each morning and feared its setting each night. They didn’t understand the sun, but they knew that without it they were doomed.
We have a far greater understanding of the sun than ancient civilisations, but at the same time, we have become even more dependent on it for life and light, as our need for solar energy is greater than ever.
It was as far back as 1839 that the journey towards solar energy began. A 19-year-old physicist, Edmond Becquerel, coated platinum electrodes with silver chloride and discovered a voltage increase when exposed to the sun. The effect was called the photovoltaic effect.
In 1883, the first photovoltaic cell came into existence thanks to Charles Frittz. He was the first person to set up a rooftop system but achieved a mere 1% efficiency for his efforts. With the discovery that silicon is a better conductor than selenium, Bells Laboratories was able to increase that efficiency to 6% and was able to publically demonstrate a toy Ferris Wheel and a radio transmitter running on solar.
Today, solar panels can achieve more than 20% efficiency and have become a viable source of clean energy, but we’ve just scratched the surface. Scientists and inventors continue to improve solar electricity. As a business that strives to produce clean energy, we want to acknowledge the men and women who have brought solar energy this far, and those who have partnered with us to provide this natural source of energy to others.
Star 8’s founder, Jacob Maimon, expresses this journey to renewable energy as “fixing our own home.”
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