I am fascinated by solar power on any quantity of levels, only one of which has something to do with investing.

Very first and foremost, the science geek component of me just loves the concept that you simply can place a chip of silicon out within the sun and get electricity out of it. And also you can retain getting that electrical power as long as the sun shines.

When I was developing up within the 1950s, the very good men and women at Bell Labs (any person else remember Our Mister Sun?) have been the science equivalent of Walt Disney: benevolent, competent and complete of surprises. (Function at Bell Labs gave us, for example, the laser, the transistor and the UNIX operating method and created seven Nobel Prizes. But I digress.) The photoelectric impact had been a identified phenomenon considering that 1839, nevertheless it wasn’t till 1954 that Bell scientists announced their improvement of a genuinely effective solar cell. And it was a sensation.Stories about how a piece of silicon doped with all the suitable chemicals became a supply of “light electricity” had been everywhere. And it did not matter that it price $250 to obtain 1 watt of solar power. At the time, the globe was full of oil and coal, and electrical power from the sun was just a curiosity.

The truth is, if it hadn’t been for the Cold War-fueled space race and someone’s suggestion that using solar cells to replace a battery may extend the helpful life of the Vanguard I satellite, the complete photovoltaic market may have been swept in to the dustbin of historical past.

Following the ’50s, far-sighted scientists, the U.S. space system and a number of remote-power items like marine buoys kept the study alive. By the early 1970s, solar panels were being produced at a price of $10 per watt.