L’effet photovoltaïque, fut découvert en 1839 par le Français Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel. Il désigne la capacité que possèdent certains matériaux, notamment les semi-conducteurs, à convertir directement les différentes composantes de la lumière (les Photons) en électricité. D’abord considéré comme une curiosité de laboratoire, ce phénomène fut étudié par de nombreux scientifiques tels que Heinrich Hertz, ou Philipp Lenard avant de trouver une explication théorique en la personne d’Albert Einstein en 1905. La relation E = hv qui relie le caractère ondulatoire de la lumière (représenté par sa fréquence ν) à son caractère corpusculaire (représenté par le grain d’énergie E) lui vaudra le prix Nobel en 1922. C’est la constante de Planck qui fait le lien entre ces deux mondes (ondulatoire et corpusculaire), le fait que cette constante ne soit pas nulle montre la dualité de la lumière (c’est à la fois une onde et un corpuscule). Einstein venait de mettre en évidence au travers de cette formule l’existence du photon.


1839: Nineteen-year-old Edmund Becquerel, a French initial physicist, detected the photovoltaic outcome whilst experimenting with an electrolytic dungeon done up of dual metal electrodes. 1873: Willoughby Smith detected the photoconductivity of selenium.

1876: Adams and Day celebrated the photovoltaic outcome in plain selenium.

1883: Charles Fritts, an American inventor, described the initial solar cells done from selenium wafers.

1887: Heinrich Hertz detected which ultraviolet light changed the lowest voltage able of causing a hint to burst between dual metal electrodes.

1904: Hallwachs detected which a multiple of copper and cuprous oxide was photosensitive. Einstein published his paper upon the photoelectric effect.

1914: The life of a separator covering in PV inclination was reported.

1916: Millikan supposing initial explanation of the photoelectric effect.

1918: Polish scientist Czochralski grown a approach to grow single-crystal silicon.

1923: Albert Einstein perceived the Nobel Prize for his theories explaining the photoelectric effect.

1951: A grown p-n connection enabled the prolongation of a single-crystal dungeon of germanium.

1954: The PV outcome in Cd was reported; initial work was finished by Rappaport, Loferski and Jenny at RCA. Bell Labs researchers Pearson, Chapin, and Fuller reported their find of 4.5% fit silicon solar cells; this was lifted to 6% usually a couple of months after (by a work group together with Mort Prince). Chapin, Fuller, Pearson (AT&T) submitted their formula to the Journal of Applied Physics. AT&T demonstrated solar cells in Murray Hill, New Jersey, afterwards at the National Academy of Science Meeting in Washington, DC.

1955: Western Electric began to sell blurb licenses for silicon PV technologies; early successful products enclosed PV-powered dollar check changers and inclination which decoded mechanism punch cards and tape. Bell System’s proof of the sort P farming conduit complement began in Americus, Georgia. Hoffman Electronics’s Semiconductor Division voiced a blurb PV product at 2% efficiency; labelled at $25/cell and at fourteen mW each, the price of appetite was $1500/W.

1956: Bell System’s proof of the sort P farming conduit complement was consummated after 5 months.

1957: Hoffman Electronics finished 8% fit cells. “Solar Energy Converting Apparatus,” obvious #2,780,765, was released to Chapin, Fuller, and Pearson, AT&T.

1958: Hoffman Electronics finished 9% fit PV cells. Vanguard I, the initial PV-powered satellite, was launched in team-work with the U.S. Signal Corp. The heavenly body energy complement operated for 8 years.

1959: Hoffman Electronics finished 10% efficient, commercially accessible PV cells and demonstrated the use of a grid hit to significantly revoke form resistance. Explorer-6 was launched with a PV form of 9600 cells, any usually 1 cm x 2 cm.

1960: Hoffman Electronics finished 14% fit PV cells.

1961: The UN discussion upon Solar Energy in the Developing World was held. The predecessor to the PV Specialists Conference, the Meeting of the Solar Working Group (SWG) of the Interservice Group for Flight Vehicle Power, was hold in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The initial PV Specialists Conference was hold in Washington, DC.

1963: Japan commissioned a 242-W PV form upon a lighthouse, the world’s largest form at which time.

1964: The Nimbus booster was launched with a 470-W PV array.

1965: Peter Glaser, A.D. Little, recognised the thought of a heavenly body solar energy station. Tyco Labs grown the edge-defined, film-fed expansion (EFG) process, initial to grow clear turquoise ribbons and afterwards silicon.

1966: The Orbiting Astronomical Observatory was launched with a 1-kW PV array.

1968: The OVI-13 heavenly body was launched with dual CdS panels.

1972: The French implement a CdS PV complement in a encampment propagandize in Niger to run an tutorial TV.

1973: The Cherry Hill Conference was hold in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

1974: Japan formulated Project Sunshine. Tyco Labs grew the initial EFG, 1-inch-wide badge by an endless-belt process.

1975: The U.S. supervision began a human PV investigate and growth project, reserved to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), as a outcome of recommendations of the Cherry Hill Conference. Bill Yerkes non-stop Solar Technology International. Exxon non-stop Solar Power Corporation. JPL instituted the Block we buying by the U.S. government.

1977: The Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), after to turn the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), non-stop in Golden, Colorado. Total PV prolongation prolongation exceeded 500 kW.

1979: Solenergy was founded. NASA’s Lewis Research Center (LeRC) finished a 3.5-kW complement upon the Papago Indian Reservation in Schuchuli, Arizona; this was the world’s initial encampment PV system. NASA’s LeRC finished an 1.8-kW form for AID, in Tangaye, Upper Volta, and after increasing energy outlay to 3.6 kW.

1980: The initial William R. Cherry Award was since to Paul Rappaport, SERI’s first director. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, was comparison to settle and work the Southwest Residential Experimental Station (SW RES). A 105.6-kW complement was dedicated at Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah; the complement used Motorola, ARCO Solar, and Spectrolab PV modules.

1981: A 90.4-kW PV complement was dedicated at Lovington Square Shopping Center (New Mexico) regulating Solar Power Corp. modules. A 97.6-kW PV complement was dedicated at Beverly High School in Beverly, Massachusetts, regulating Solar Power Corp. modules. An 8-kW PV-powered (Mobil Solar), reverse-osmosis desalination trickery was dedicated in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

1982: Worldwide PV prolongation exceeded 9.3 MW. Solarex dedicated the ‘PV Breeder’ prolongation trickery in Frederick, Maryland, with the roof-integrated 200-kW array. ARCO Solar’s Hisperia, California, 1-MW PV plant went upon line with modules upon 108 dual-axis trackers.

1983: The JPL Block V buying was begun. Solar Power Corporation finished the pattern and designation of 4 stand-alone PV encampment energy systems in Hammam Biadha, Tunesia (a 29-kW encampment energy system, a 1.5-kW residential system, and dual 1.5-kW irrigation/pumping systems). Solar Design Associates finished the stand-alone, 4-kW (Mobil Solar), Hudson River Valley home. Worldwide PV prolongation exceeded 21.3 MW, and sales exceeded $250 million.

1984: The IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Award was presented to Drs. David Carlson and Christopher Wronski at the 17th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, “for consequential contributions to the use of distorted silicon in low-cost, high-performance photovoltaic solar cells.”

1991: The Solar Energy Research Institute was redesignated as the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory by President George Bush.

1993: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Energy Research Facility (SERF), non-stop in Golden, Colorado.

1996: The U.S. Department of Energy announces the National Center for Photovoltaics, headquartered in Golden, Colorado.