Who Invented the Solar Cell?

The advancement of solar technology has been an ongoing race that started well over a century or more ago, and there are still incredible advancements happening as we speak, in our super-fast technological age.

Sometimes the history of something as revolutionary as solar energy and its birth leads us to questions like; who invented the solar cell? There’s seldom one person that can take credit for these types of advancements and inventions though.

More often than not, one inventor begins with one step, then another takes it a step further and so on, until, as we see today, we find relief financially, as well as from load shedding in South Africa, by what these searching and inventive minds started so very long ago.

Today we can rely on PV solar systems to keep us going while the rest of the country is in darkness, and we get to take a major financial load off when it comes to electricity tariffs, as they increase exponentially each year.

Who invented the solar cell?

When the historical inventors of the solar cell, known today as a photovoltaic cell (PV) or, in terms of a full system, a solar PV system, they weren’t thinking, as we do today, about protecting the environment.

They hadn’t yet seen what man would do to destroy our natural resources, which would send us in search of alternative energy sources. It was about pure science, and enquiring minds that gave us the opportunity to care about what the future holds for the environment today.

Here’s a very brief look at each genius that started the ball rolling towards the solar cell, though each deserves so much more, however, space is limited;

Edmond Becquerel

In 1839 Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect. This young French scientist discovered the process that can produce an electric current when exposed to light.

Augustin Mouchot

During the 1860’s Augustin Mouchot, inspired by Edmond’s work, started registering solar powered engine patents, which further inspired physicists right across to America. From there, this mathematician filed further patents in 1888 for solar powered devices. Phenomenal!

Edward Weston – the real father of solar cells!

Not too long after this, Edward Weston became the father-inventor who received 2 patents for solar cells; and so the journey began. In Weston’s words, he proposed to “transform radiant energy derived from the sun into electrical energy, or through electrical energy into mechanical energy”.

All these men with minds that let their imagination and hunger for advancement, along with their extensive knowledge, deserve so much more than what is written here, however, people such as the team at Renaissance Solar carry on their dreams today, with the same passion and commitment to a future that relies on the sun for energy, and nothing less.

Back to the future in 2022/2023 with Renaissance Solar

Renaissance Solar in Cape Town has been supplying, installing and designing solar PV systems, based on the principles born centuries ago, for well over a decade, pouring into all their installations a creative passion for people, quality products, superb customer service and after-sales service that makes them stand head above shoulders of the rest.

If there is anything you’d like to know about Hybrid or Grid Tie solar PV systems, solar hot water systems and budget-beating solar prices, this is the team to trust with your dreams.

Down to earth, honest and straightforward, Renaissance Solar is more than willing to share their expert knowledge with anyone who would like to know more about transitioning to solar energy, no matter where you start, big or small! 


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