PV60 – History Becoming the Future

Celebrating the 60th Birthday of Solar’s Big Breakthrough

Palo Alto, CA April 18, 2014

On April 25, 1954, scientists at Bell Laboratories demonstrated the most significant breakthrough in the history of solar energy – a solar cell capable of directly converting enough sunlight into electricity to generate useful amounts of power.

Tribute to Original Solar Pioneers

On April 26, 1954, the New York Times stated on its front page that the invention of the Bell Laboratories silicon solar cell marked “the beginning of a new era eventually leading to the realization of one of mankind’s most cherished dreams – the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.” 

Among those joining us on this landmark evening will be original pioneers of the solar industry, including Dr. Mort Prince, who is the last living participant in the Bell Laboratories solar breakthrough and designer of the 1954 demonstration arrays, and Eugene Ralph, who worked with Dr. Prince on the first solar cells for space in the 1950s, which launched the solar industry.

The City of Palo Alto is co-sponsoring the event, and we will also be honored to have with us, among other city officials, Palo Alto Mayor Nancy Shepherd, who will be receiving the History Becoming the Future Award on behalf of the city for their 100% carbon neutral renewable energy achievement.

On display will be never before publicly exhibited artifacts, including original Bell Laboratories modules, archival photos and films, and formerly top secret documents that chronicle silicon solar’s remarkable first 60 years. Solar historian and author John Perlin will provide commentary, based on his acclaimed new book Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy.

What better place to launch the 60th anniversary celebration of this breakthrough and its subsequent progress than the City of Palo Alto? Not only is Palo Alto in the heart of Silicon Valley, but it recently became one of the first cities to procure the equivalent of 100% of its community’s power needs with solar and other renewables using direct power purchase contracts and renewable energy credits (RECs). By 2017, the city utility plans to be contracted solely with renewable electricity generators. In Palo Alto, history truly is becoming the future! 

Al Jazeera English covers PV60 Celebrating the 60th Birthday of Solar’s Big Breakthrough

“PV60 History Becoming the Future” Palo Alto Highlights

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