Solar Panels On Space Shuttle

In 1881, Charles Fritts created the first commercial solar panel, which was reported by Fritts as “continuous, constant and of considerable force not only by exposure to sunlight but also to dim, diffused daylight. ” However, these solar panels were very inefficient, especially compared to coal-fired power plants. In 1939, Russell Ohl created the solar cell design that is used in many modern solar panels. He patented his design in 1941. In 1954, this design was first used by Bell Labs to create the first commercially viable silicon solar cell. In 1957, Mohamed M. Atalla developed the process of silicon surface passivation by thermal oxidation at Bell Labs. The surface passivation process has since been critical to solar cell efficiency.