The Renewable Energy Boom Is Here

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In 1839, French physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect when he noted that the cell he was experimenting with produced more electricity when it was exposed to light1. Humble beginnings and serendipitous outcomes are typical of scientific progress. But it took another 15 decades before this technology was used at an industrial scale, in what became the first large-scale solar plant built in California in 1981. Similarly, the origins of using wind power to generate electricity go back well over a century but large-scale wind farms, as we know them today, began appearing on the global landscape around the same time as solar plants.

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