A Brief History of Solar Energy: Timeline & Important Developments

Although solar energy has firmly established its place as one of the leading sources of clean energy today, many are quick to forget that solar panels were not nearly as accessible just 15 years ago as they are now. So, how has the history of solar power led to its modern use?

Nowadays, photovoltaics systems are a common addition to homes and businesses alike. The popularity of solar energy has been on a constant rise throughout the country: homeowners and entrepreneurs can even find quality solar panels in Carlsbad, CA. Read on to find out how solar energy became what it is today.  

Where was solar energy first used?

Solar energy is as old as humankind: harnessing the power of the sun has been a common practice for almost as long as man has walked the earth. So, the question of where solar energy was first used is not as simple to answer as it may seem.

Burning mirrors

The earliest uses of solar energy go as far back as 7th century B.C. when humans used to light fires for cooking by focusing sunlight through a magnifying glass. The materials used to focus solar energy later became known as “burning mirrors” and were used by the Greeks and Romans in 3rd century B.C. for lighting torches needed for religious rituals and ceremonies.


In ancient times, the power of sunlight was used in a number of creative ways. The famous Roman bathhouses were actually sunrooms: typically south-facing rooms with tall windows, designed to capture and direct sunlight into one specific area to warm it. This practice was also familiar to Native Americans who lived in abodes that faced south and captured sunlight for warmth during cold winters.   

Archimedes and solar energy      

Archimedes of Syracuse was fabled to have used solar energy to attack enemies from the Roman Empire. According to the legend, he did this by reflecting sunlight off of bronze shields of his enemies and using the rays to set fire to their wooden ships. Funnily enough, the Greek navy tested this experiment in the 1970s and managed to burn a wooden ship with nothing but sunlight and a bronze shield!         

Who made the first solar cell?

The modern history of solar power began in 1839, when Alexandre Edmond Becquerel, a young French scientist, discovered that certain materials produced electricity when exposed to light. This led Becquerel to discover the “photovoltaic effect” and set in motion groundbreaking developments in the field of solar energy.    

The next step was taken in 1873 by Willoughby Smith who discovered that the element selenium had photoconductive properties. This encouraged William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day to experiment with Becquerel’s photovoltaic effect and confirm that selenium does, in fact, create electricity when exposed to sunlight.    

It took almost 50 years for the world to get their first solar cell after the discovery of the photovoltaic principle. In 1883, Charles Fritts, an American inventor, produced the first working selenium cell by coating it with a thin layer of gold.

Fritts’s solar cell was low impact, with efficiency as low as 1%, but was the undeniable precursor to the modern silicon cells. In 1954, Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson patented silicon-based solar cells and finally made commercial use of PV technology a development that seemed to be waiting just around the corner.     

When did solar panels start being used?

While the history of solar energy is undeniably a long one, the greatest leap toward the solar cells as they are used today came in the past couple of decades. This is most evident in the way the costs of solar energy have changed since the 1954 solar cell discovery. Here’s how it went:    

  • Hoffman Electronics: in 1959, this Californian corporation made a number of breakthroughs in PV efficiency, raising it from the initial 2% all the way up to 14%. This caused a significant cost reduction, from the staggering $300 per watt in Becquerel’s time to $100 in the 1960s.     
  • Solar panels and outer space: throughout the late 1950s and 1960s, the space age developed rapidly, leading to NASA’s 1964 launch of the Nimbus satellite which featured a 470-watt PV solar panel array. The space initiative both increased production and helped further reduce solar panel prices.  
  • 1970s inflation and discoveries: with the economic struggles that characterized this period came invaluable innovations. Events such as president Jimmy Carter having solar panels installed on the White House and Dr. Elliot Berman reducing the solar panel cost to $20 per watt finally made solar energy a tangible possibility for everybody.      
  • The final breakthrough: ever since the 1980s, the prices of solar panels have been on a steady downward trend, dropping by at least 10 percent every single year. Nowadays, solar panels can cost as low as $0.50 per watt which makes them an affordable clean energy source.    

High-quality solar panels Carlsbad, CA home and business owners rely on  

The current use of solar panels for residential and commercial purposes would never have been possible without all the scientists and engineers who dedicated their lives to making this low-cost clean energy available to everyone.

So, why not make the most of the fruit of their hard work? If you live in San Diego County, contact Action Solar and get an estimate for your home or business. Once our qualified technicians determine the appropriate number of solar panels for your home, they’ll install your solar system with unmatched expertise. Call us today!

What Size Solar Panel Do I Need For My Home?

While solar panels have become a common addition to many homes in the U.S., a vast number of people still have a myriad of questions about using this type of energy. One we hear all the time is: how big should my solar panels be?

While this is a fairly simple question, the complexity of the answer is likely to surprise you. The number and size of the solar panels you need will depend on a variety of factors which will be discussed in the paragraphs that follow.

If you need a quick way to find out, you can always count on dependable solar panel installers in Carlsbad, CA to give you an estimate based on your individual needs.    

What is the average size of a solar panel?

So, how big are your typical solar panels? Well, this question can be answered in two different ways: in terms of physical size as well as the number of solar cells in grid-tied photovoltaic systems.   

Solar cells

How big your solar panels will be will depend on the PV module you choose: 60 cell or 72 cell. Solar cells are devices which convert the energy of sunlight into electricity. The more cells your PV system has, the more efficient it will be.

Length and width

When it comes to physical size, most companies have standard sized panels for different cell modules. A 60 cell panel used for residential purposes is usually 65 inches in length and 39 inches in width, while a commercial 72 cell solar panel is 77 by 39 inches.

How much energy does a solar panel produce?

The power output of a solar panel is expressed in watts. A typical panel can produce anywhere from 250 to 360 watts, depending on the manufacturer.

However, you should note that the power ratings stated on the manufacturer’s equipment and specifications usually refers to the power rating measured in Standard Test Conditions, i.e. STC. STC is the solar panel wattage measured under laboratory conditions, which means that your panel is unlikely to produce the stated number of wats in natural conditions.

If you seek a more realistic power rating, you should look for the PTC rating of the solar panels you’re interested in. The acronym PTC stands for PV USA Test Conditions and represents the power rating of a solar panel measured in more real-life conditions. A standard solar panel will have a PTC rating between 195 and 247 watts.

How many solar panels do I need for my house?

Now that you know the typical sizes and power ratings of solar panels, you’re probably waiting for us to tell you the exact size of the solar system you need. Unfortunately, answering this question depends on a number of additional factors unique to you and your property:

  • How much electricity do you use on average? To find out exactly how many panels you will need for your home, you need to calculate your average monthly and daily usage in kilowatt hours. Use your energy bills from the past year to determine the number.
  • What are the peak sunlight hours in your area? Once you have your daily kWh usage, divide it by the average hours the sun produces peak sunlight at your location. For instance, the average peak hours in California are 5.82.
  • What’s the efficiency of your desired solar panels? The previous step serves to determine the energy your solar system should be able to produce in one day. Divide this number with your desired panel efficiency to get the number of panels you need (e.g. a typical U.S. family would need anywhere from 28 to 34 250-watt panels).

Once you’re done with the calculations, your next step should be to determine whether the number of panels you need fits into your budget and available space. If everything looks good, contact your trusted installation services and experience the multitude of benefits going solar entails.

Rely on the finest solar panel installers Carlsbad, CA can provide

Whether you want to learn about different types of solar energy or want to find out where solar energy was first used, we’ll be more than happy to give you all the information you seek. However, no matter how much you learn, only solar energy experts can tell you exactly how many panels you should install.

Fortunately, you can count on the seasoned solar panel installation technicians at Action AC to give you an estimate and start installing the solar system best suited to your needs while you explore Legoland California Resort with your family. Reach out to us today!

How to Find Reliable Solar Panels Installation in Santee, CA?

If you’ve decided to reduce your energy consumption by installing a PV system for your home or business, you need to find a dependable company to install your solar panels. To do this, you should first get acquainted with the most important requirements for installing a solar system in your home.   

Whether you want to learn about different types of solar systems or ways to enhance the lifespan of your PV system, you can count on top-notch solar panel installation and design pros in Santee to provide all the solar energy information you might need. Read on to find out what size of solar system will best fit your specific needs and how much sunlight you need to efficiently power your residential or commercial property.

How big a solar energy system do I need?

One of the most common questions from people considering solar panel installation is what size of a solar system would best suit their needs. Finding an answer to this question can be tricky since estimating the size of your solar system will depend on a large number of factors. To help you get an idea, here are some of the most important ones:  

  • Your average energy consumption: the first step is to determine the number of kilowatt hours of electricity you use on average. Use your electricity bills from the past 12 months to calculate your average monthly and daily usage.
  • The peak sunlight for your area: find the solar insolation hours for your area, i.e. the average hours the sun produces peak sunlight. Divide your daily kWh usage by the average peak hours to determine how much energy you need your solar system to produce per day.
  • The number of panels you need: to determine the number, divide your daily kWh requirement with panel efficiency. For example, the typical American household would need 28-34 solar panels with 250-watt efficiency.  
  • The size of your roof: once you determine the number of panels you need, you have to make sure that your home is suitable for mounting your desired panels and see whether you can actually fit them on the roof.
  • How much you plan to invest: of course, the type, size and efficiency of the solar system you choose will depend on your budget. Make the decision by taking into account your energy requirements, space restrictions and financial means to find the solar option best suited to your needs.

How do I know if I have enough sunlight for PV?

When deciding whether or not solar panels make sense for their home or business, people often wonder how many hours of sunlight are needed for solar systems to be worth the investment. Since different countries have different sunlight peaks, the location of your home definitely plays a role in deciding if going solar is a smart decision.

What are the peak sunlight hours in my country?

Peak sun-hours in the majority of the United States range between 3 and 6 hours a day. Of course, this factor carries more weight in states on the lower end of the spectrum.

California residents generally don’t have to worry about sunlight hours as much since they live in a state with one of the highest sunlight peak averages in the country, as high as 5.82. If you want more precise information, use an insolation map to find the exact amount of solar energy your location gets during the worst month of the year.  

How much sunlight do photovoltaic systems need?

It has been shown that having at least 4 hours of peak sun-hours is optimal for solar panels to work. However, while your location’s sun-hours can help you determine your solar requirements, having unobstructed access to natural daylight during most of the day is far more important for PV systems to produce electricity.

This means that the angle of your roof and the presence of trees, surrounding buildings, or other obstructions will affect the efficiency of your solar panels much more than the number of peak hours.

Will my solar panels work on cloudy days?

The short answer to this common question is: yes. Solar panels do work in overcast conditions because sunlight can diffuse through the clouds to reach the panels. However, even modern panels optimized to maximize the light they receive will be only 25-40% as effective in cloudy weather as they would be on a sunny day.

Rely on superb solar panels installation pros Santee, CA is proud of

While it’s important to learn as much as you can about utilizing solar energy, only seasoned installation experts can estimate the number of panels you should have installed. They can also advise you on how you can best benefit from going solar considering your location and specific needs.  

Instead of fretting about the specifics of your future solar system, go hiking with your friends on Cowles Mountain while our experienced installation technicians design and build a solar system tailored to your needs. Call Action Solar today and schedule your free estimate!

PV Systems for Businesses: What Are the Benefits?

Due to the ever growing concern for the environment and the exorbitant oil prices, many business owners are looking for ways to move towards more renewable sources of power. With solar energy being the most popular and sustainable choice, many are considering using photovoltaic systems to power their businesses.

Since a PV system is versatile and can be incorporated into virtually any commercial building, it’s definitely a great choice for any business owner who wants to reduce their energy bills and protect the environment. Once you learn about the multitude of benefits a PV system can bring, count on the leading solar panel installation in Santee, CA to help you make the most of your energy-efficient improvements.

Who benefits from solar energy?

Conscious of the finite nature of fossil fuels and the detrimental effects humanity has had on the environment, the number of people who understand the importance of switching to renewable energy sources is constantly on the rise. Once you add the financial and practical perks to the equation, it’s easy to see why going solar is beneficial for both home and business owners.   

Benefits for homeowners

Becoming more self-sufficient by tapping into solar energy enables homeowners to reduce their energy consumption, as well as their carbon footprint, while increasing their savings in the long run.

What’s more, the process of switching to a green solution for residential use is much easier today than it was a decade ago, with reliable solar energy consultants, excellent federal income tax credits, and state incentives making it both more convenient and affordable.

Benefits for business owners

Going solar makes great sense for any business owner who wants to become more environmentally responsible and efficient in their use of energy. Here’s how a business can benefit from utilizing PV systems:

  • Gain energy independence: using solar power enables business owners to eliminate their exposure to increases in electricity rates by relying on a sustainable and predictable energy source which reduces the carbon footprint of their businesses.
  • Boost your reputation: going solar can be a great marketing tool, enhancing the reputation and marketing appeal of a business to environmentally responsible customers.  
  • Cut down your energy expenses: investing in solar power systems gives business owners greater control over their energy consumption, allowing them to decrease the operating costs by reducing or even eliminating their electricity bills.

Benefits for the environment and the general public

Using clean solar energy enables individuals and companies to help save the environment by:

  • Reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Improving public health by reducing both water and air pollution caused by coal and natural gas plants.
  • Generating local wealth by continuously creating jobs in clean energy.

Can solar panels save you money?

Although installing solar panels requires a substantial initial investment, using solar energy can save significant amounts of money in the long run, even for small businesses. Once the initial costs are paid off, your business can reap the following benefits of going solar:

  • Energy savings: as already mentioned, using renewable energy sources allows businesses to significantly reduce their overall energy costs. By not using as much electricity from the grid, you will gain energy independence and avoid fluctuations in electricity prices.
  • Free electric supply in the long run: since the lifetime of a PV system is 25-30 years and the time needed to pay off the initial investment usually ranges from 3 to 7 years, businesses can enjoy free electric supply for a long period of time.
  • Federal tax credits: business owners who decide to install solar systems receive a 30% solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
  • State rebates: many states also offer rebates for residential and commercial solar systems which can further reduce your initial costs. In some states, you can also earn Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) for the electricity your system produces and sell them to utilities.

All of these federal and state incentives serve to encourage the expansion of solar energy use in residential and commercial properties and make it more accessible and affordable for homeowners and business owners. This is why you can both significantly reduce the initial costs of installing a solar panel system and take advantage of the long-term savings.

Second-to-none solar panel installation experts Santee, CA relies on

Using solar energy benefits everyone: your business, general public and the environment. If you’re thinking of purchasing a PV system, Action Solar will help you assess what size of solar system will suit your needs and exactly how you can benefit from utilizing solar energy. Rely on our expert technicians to provide you with the finest solar panel installation services in Santee, CA while you take some time to relax and explore Kumeyaay Lake. Take control of your energy consumption and run your business smarter with Action Solar. Contact us today!

Using Photovoltaics to Power Your Home

Switching to solar energy is a big step for many homeowners, bringing a myriad of considerations. One of the first questions that you might have when considering going solar is whether photovoltaic systems can power your home. With the help of the best solar panel installers in Santee, CA, you can choose an appropriate PV system and meet all of your electricity needs.

There’s no doubt that solar energy is beneficial to your entire community, but first, you need to decide on the right size of a solar system for your home and research the available options. There are numerous reasons to buy a PV system that will quickly persuade you that this is a profitable move.

What are the components of a photovoltaic system?

How long do photovoltaic (PV) systems last

Photovoltaic (PV) systems are one of the most commonly used solar technologies for both residential and commercial purposes. Since more and more homeowners and business owners are deciding to switch to solar energy, these systems have become more affordable.

Learning more about PV systems will help gain a deeper understanding of how solar energy actually works. It can also be helpful in determining the size that will be most appropriate for your home.

The components of a PV system

PV solar systems are modular in nature, so you can easily adjust them even after they’ve been installed. If you ever decide to add or remove power capacity, you can easily do this with the assistance of experienced installers. Of course, this level of flexibility is one of the main perks that homeowners greatly appreciate.

The main solar system components include:

  • Solar cells
  • Solar panels
  • Wiring
  • Electrical connections
  • Mounting and grounding equipment
  • Power inverter
  • Output power lines
  • Charge controller
  • Equipment for power processing
  • Electrical meter
  • Devices for surge and overcurrent protection

For additional information, you can browse through the Department of Energy PV technology basics section. Also, you can always discuss PV systems in detail with your trusted provider.

How long do photovoltaic (PV) systems last?

Having a solar system installed is a major home improvement project, but it can provide homeowners with long-lasting benefits. Another important aspect that you should consider when going solar is the durability of your PV system.

Undoubtedly, this is a long-term investment that can last for years to come. Your PV system can even last up to 30 years, providing you with great perks along the way. However, how long your PV system will actually last depends on several different factors:

  • Installation. The very installation process is crucial for the durability of a PV system. If a system isn’t properly installed, it won’t provide you with optimal performance and it can start showing signs of malfunction.
  • Experience of the installers. Only the most experienced installers and technicians should handle your PV system installation. This will minimize the risk of poor installation or damage.
  • Quality. You need to make sure that your preferred PV system is of the highest quality. You can do this by contacting licensed and reliable providers in Santee.
  • Maintenance. Finally, proper maintenance and regular inspection will also contribute to the PV system durability. Of course, your chosen company will provide you with guidelines and advice on maintenance, as well as dependable maintenance services.

Rely on our solar panel installer experts in Santee, CA

solar panel installers santee ca

Action Solar is here to meet your solar energy needs. Not only are our installers the best technicians in the area, with years of experience, but we also offer customized solar solutions, ensuring that they suit your home.

You don’t even have to waste time because we guarantee efficient installation that meets the highest standards. Once we’re done, you can explore Cowles Mountain with your friends and family, knowing that your solar needs have been accommodated. Schedule a consultation today!

Photovoltaic Systems: What You Need to Know

So, you’ve decided to go solar, but now what ? Where to start? What is exactly a photovoltaic system and do you have other options? If you’re looking for high-quality solar panels in Santee, CA, you need to learn more about solar energy in general and specific available systems. This will help you make an informed decision and choose a solar system that is right for you.

Having a solar system can bring numerous benefits that everyone can reap, so it’s definitely one of the wisest and most profitable investments you can make. But, if you decide to go with a PV system, you should inform yourself about the durability of PV systems and whether you have enough sunlight for a PV system.

What’s the difference between PV and other solar energy technologies?

It would be easy if you could just go to a trusted provider and say “could you give me one solar system, please?”. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. In fact, you need to do some research so that you can choose a solar system that will provide you with maximum benefits and meet the electricity needs of your household.

Why should I purchase a PV system

One of the most popular solar technologies on the market are photovoltaic (PV) systems. Yet, you might be interested in other options, so it can be useful to learn how PV solar systems actually differ from other solar installations.

Here are the four main types of solar systems:

  • As one of the most popular solutions, PV systems are available to homeowners across the globe. These systems consist of PV cells that are made from semiconductor materials. How do they work? Well, they generate electricity by converting sunlight, enabling homeowners to power their entire residences.
  • Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems have reflective devices such as mirror panels as their main components. These devices are used to concentrate solar energy and generate heat. Afterward, the generated heat is used to produce electricity.
  • Solar walls or transpired solar collectors are another available option on the market. When it comes to this type of solar technology, they are typically used to preheat ventilation air in a facility by using solar energy.
  • Solar water heating systems are used to heat water. They heat water either directly by a sun-facing solar collector, or indirectly through the use of a heated “working fluid”.

To learn more about these solar technologies, or other available options, you can always research the Department of Energy solar power resources. This will help you gain a deeper insight into this complex field and make the right decision for you and your family.

Why should I purchase a PV system?

Switching to renewable energy is a major step, so many homeowners wonder why they should opt for such a home improvement. Fortunately, the number of benefits of solar energy make this investment definitely worth making.

So, if you’re in doubt whether you should opt for a PV system, here are a few reasons that will take your doubts away.

  • Increased affordability: Owing to technological advancements, PV solar systems are becoming more affordable and available to a greater number of homeowners. Although this type of home improvement does require a sizeable amount of money, it will definitely pay off in the long run.
  • Environment preservation: You can make a valuable contribution to protecting the environment by installing a PV system in your home. It will reduce your household’s carbon footprint and make it more sustainable.
  • Financial benefits: Having a PV system installed will bring you monetary perks, including increased home value and reduced utility bills. By bringing increased savings, a solar system will pay for itself.

Action Solar: your go-to service for all your solar needs in Santee

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Here at Action Solar, we understand the importance of switching to solar energy, which is why we offer first-rate solar panel systems in Santee, CA. We will provide you with customized solar solutions so that you can reap maximum benefits from your solar system.

Our experienced technicians will render efficient solar panel installation services, giving you enough time to visit the Mission Trails Regional Park and relax knowing that your solar system is perfectly installed. With us, you also get help with acquiring financial assistance. Contact us today!

What is the Optimal Number of Solar Panels for My Home?

The beauty of custom solar panel design is that you can rest assured that they are the perfect fit for your home, especially if you are lucky enough to live in San Diego. Your solar power system and panels need to be designed and installed by professionals, who will first estimate your home’s needs and consumption, ensuring the panels’ optimal functionality.

That said, it is not only the surface of your roof that determines the solar panel size you will need or the number of solar panels you should have. In other words, there are other major factors that affect the functionality of your solar panels, such as the energy requirements of your home, the panels’ capacity and their energy output.

With the optimal number of appropriate capacity solar panels that undergo periodic profesional solar panel maintenance, going solar will pay off big time. Here’s how to determine that number. Continue reading “What is the Optimal Number of Solar Panels for My Home?”

What is the Average Lifespan of a Solar Panel?

There’s no arguing that purchasing a high-quality solar panel in San Diego is a sound investment – an investment in the future of your home. After all, living in San Diego comes with a variety of perks and the main one is that it’s always sunny. You can bask in the sun on its beautiful Mission Beach or take advantage of all that sunlight by going solar! If you’ve already decided to do so, you’re probably curious how long you can expect a solar panel to last. Here’s what you need to know. Continue reading “What is the Average Lifespan of a Solar Panel?”

Solar Panels Explained: How Much Energy Do They Produce?

If you decide to go solar in San Diego, you’ll be pleased to hear it is more than possible and profitable thanks to a great number of available systems. Not only do homeowners have an opportunity to contribute to the environment preservation, but they can also save a lot of money on their electricity bill in the long run.

How much electricity does a 1kW solar panel produceSince this is a major investment, it requires detailed research and careful planning. This will help you choose the right solar system for your household and inform yourself more about the most common questions homeowners have, especially regarding the energy capacity of solar panels.

If you don’t know what size of solar panels you need or how much electricity a house uses daily, you should take some time to gather all the information in order to make a wise investment. This will also help you gain a valuable insight into solar panel maintenance and other important details regarding this home improvement. Continue reading “Solar Panels Explained: How Much Energy Do They Produce?”

Solar Panel System: Average Size and Output

What a time to be alive, especially if you live in the sunny San Diego! We can reap all the benefits of a clean and sustainable energy source, knowing that we’re saving both money and the planet. Having a solar power system installed is not only a refreshing energy-efficient solution for any type of property, but also an excellent long-term investment for homes in this area. You’ll find the decision to go solar much easier to make once you hear about the many perks that come with it.

However, before you go for it, you have to understand the basics and make the right decision regarding the solar panel system size that applies to your particular case. In other words, you need to find the right panel size for your home from the vast variety of differently-sized residential solar panels in San Diego to choose from. Although this is in certainly not the only factor that affects the system’s efficiency, it is definitely an important one. Here’s what you need to know! Continue reading “Solar Panel System: Average Size and Output”