America invented silicon solar cells in the 1950s. It spent more on solar R&D than any other country in the 1980s. It lost its technological advantage anyway.
American researchers experimented with unconventional solar-energy designs, such as this thermoelectric panel. (Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group / Getty)
You wouldn’t know it today, but the silicon photovoltaic solar cell—the standard, black-and-copper solar panel you can find on suburban rooftops and solar farms—was born and raised in America.
The technology was invented here. In 1954, three American engineers at Bell Labs discovered that electrons flow freely through silicon wafers when they are exposed to sunlight.
It was deployed here. In 1958, the U.S. Navy bolted solar panels to Vanguard 1, the second American satellite in space.
And for a time, it was even made here. In the 1960s and ’70s, American companies dominated the global solar market and registered most solar patents. As late as 1978, American firms commanded 95 percent of the global solar market, Tiếp tục đọc “Why the U.S. Doesn’t Dominate the Solar-Panel Industry Anymore”