The History of Solar Power Energy

Old traditional English house roof with solar panels
Read about solar power history and how Holu Hou Energy actively draws from it to innovate solar energy storage and sharing solutions for a greener future.

From the first time someone used a piece of glass to make a beam of light, humans have been captivated by the power of the sun. As a species, we’ve been using the sun’s energy since the age of the Greeks and Romans to generate heat, light, and power in one way or another. To this day, a drive toward renewable energy sources is leading to advancements in solar power. Innovation and concern for the environment have pushed solar to be more accessible worldwide, and continued advances have led to greater efficiency and affordability. Holu Hou Energy is proud to be at the forefront of solar innovation with our Energy Storage System and EnergyShare Technology. We strive to give you more freedom in how you power your home or business, as well as assurance that you can continue to operate normally in the event of a grid outage.

Although the sun’s power was used through the power of windows, mirrors, and other tools, the invention of solar panels is the most significant innovative change to how we use sunlight. In 1839, Edmond Becquerel was credited with discovering the photovoltaic effect. He was able to prove that pieces of metal exposed to light could generate an electric current. This discovery was foundational for Charles Fritts, who, in 1883, produced the first solar cells using selenium wafers. Today’s solar panels use silicon instead of selenium as a semiconductor.  Silicon photovoltaic cells were introduced by Bell Labs in 1954 and were linked together to create the first solar panel. This invention is widely considered the birth of solar panels as we know them today since they were the first practical system for powering an electric device.

As solar panel popularity rose, there became a need to store the generated energy. Newly invented solar panels effectively convert sunlight into electrical energy but were only functional while the sun was out. Battery technology was improving around the same time; the rise of Lithium-ion batteries is directly tied to the current way we store solar energy. A wide array of researchers and companies can be credited with connecting the use of lithium-ion batteries to solar, mainly in the late 1990s. Pairing these systems has allowed for the storage of excess energy, which can be put to use during the night or on particularly cloudy days.

Solar power has appeared in various industries since the invention of solar panels and storage solutions. Satellites were among the earliest adopters of solar energy systems, with advancements leading to their use in airplanes and cars. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter oversaw the installation of solar panels to power the White House.

Holu Hou Energy is adding to the history of solar power through HoluPower xP Energy Storage System and groundbreaking EnergyShare Technology that revolutionized how solar energy is stored and shared. EnergyShare Technology, combined with Holu Hou Energy’s storage solutions, allows for the sharing of energy in multi-dwelling units with a non-export system instead of exporting excess to the grid. In this system, the surplus generated power goes to a “cluster” that redistributes the power across units in a community. When a low-usage residence has excess energy, it can be transferred to more high-usage residences, maximizing solar energy usage. In recent years, Holu Hou has been at the forefront of commercial solar solutions, with systems in operation for a few years. In May of 2023, Holu Hou Energy announced our partnership with Lendlease to bring solar power clustering to military homes on the Aliamanu Military Reservation, a next step after piloting commercial clusters at a Kauai housing development.

Solar energy has been evolving for hundreds of years, making renewable energy more feasible as an alternative energy source. Holu Hou Energy plans to stay at the forefront of solar innovation and continue adding to the growth of alternative energy.