How efficient are solar panels?
The photovoltaic effect was first discovered in 1839 by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel when he was 19 years old. Becquerel’s early experiments involved silver and platinum and generated only tiny amounts of electricity. It wasn’t until decades later that the first true solar cell was built using selenium by Charles Fritt in 1883. Those first cells still weren’t very efficient, only converting about 1% of the incoming light into electricity, but were a significant advancement.