WASHINGTON, April 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following is the daily "Profile America" feature from the U.S. Census Bureau:
A HIGHER POWER
Profile America — Saturday, April 25th. On this date in 1954, Bell Laboratories in New York announced the prototype manufacture of a new solar battery, or what we now call a solar cell. The unit represented something of an exponential improvement over existing photoelectric devices. The new cell was capable of a 6 percent energy conversion efficiency with direct sunlight, as opposed to about a 1 percent rate with earlier creations. In a demonstration for the press, the Bell inventors placed the array of several small silicon strips in sunlight. The cell captured the free electrons and turned them into electrical current, powering the rotation of a 21-inch Ferris wheel. In the U.S. today, solar energy powers some 73,000 homes, and manufacturing solar cells is a $1.4 billion a year business. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at www.census.gov.
Sources: Kane's Famous First Facts, 3558
Contemporary story: http://www.rfcafe.com/references/popular-electronics/solar-battery-oct-1954-popular-electronics.htm
Ferris wheel: http://www.popsci.com/article/science/invention-solar-cell
Household solar power:
Solar cell manufacturing /NAICS 334413A101:
Profile America is produced by the Center for New Media and Promotions of the U.S. Census Bureau. These daily features are available as produced segments, ready to air, on the Internet at http://www.census.gov (look for "Multimedia Gallery" by the "Newsroom" button).
SOURCE U.S. Census Bureau