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When electricity was first invented, it was direct current. Current dropped rapidly over long distances and could not be transmitted efficiently. Nikola Tesla invented alternating current and made it practical to generate large quantities of electricity and then transmit that power over long distances with much less loss. AC is certainly the dominant form of electricity for the world

In 1839, Edmond Becquerel discovered the process of using sunlight to produce an electric current in a solid material. But it took more than another century to truly understand this process. Scientists eventually learned that the photoelectric or photovoltaic (PV) effect caused certain materials to convert light energy into electrical energy at the atomic level.

Photovoltaic panels (PV panels) were invented in 1954 and provided power to satellites.

Although much of the use of PV panels is to provide electricity in remote areas, they are also being used more often by homeowners and commercial buildings in urban areas, as well as to power road signs, lights, etc.

For those who build homes or businesses at considerable distances from power lines, solar systems using PV panels are often more cost effective than extending the power lines.

For environmentalists and others concerned about global warming, PV panels offer one more step in the direction of complete renewable energy sources as opposed to fossil fuel or nuclear sources.

Wind energy has been used for centuries for windmills.

Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal are now expected to be one of the leading growth industries of the twenty-first century.

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