We’ve developed solar hot-water systems, created solar-powered payphones using solar space technology and we’re home to the one of the largest solar plant. There are many accomplishments Australia should be proud of.
Let’s take a look at where solar power began and the role Australia’s played in turning it into a viable energy source for millions worldwide.
Where did it begin?
The first solar cell.
1873: An English electrical engineer named Willoughby Smith found the first photoconductive solid, selenium, enabling solar energy to be harvested without moving parts.
1883: Charles Fritts, an American electrical engineer made the world’s first working solar cell.
Australia leads solar research.
1950’s: The CSIRO led the world in research to use solar power in heating water, creating the 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.
Australia breaks records.
1989: UNSW develops the world’s first solar PV system with 20 per cent efficiency.
AGL goes solar.
1998: AGL commissions Australia’s first solar generator with 1,250 cells, each generating 80 watts of power.
Producing on the global stage.
2005: Australia is a global leader, being the fourth largest producer of solar energy worldwide.
Getting Hungry for Solar.
2014: Australia surpasses 4 gigawatts of solar capacity, and estimates suggest more than 40 per cent of Queenslanders and South Australians are using solar panels.
AGL leads Solar.
2015: The final photovoltaic modules are installed in the Nyngan Solar Plant, set to be one of the largest solar plants when it begins operations.
Congratulations, Australia. We’ve come a long way.