Scientists first discovered the photovoltaic effect in the 1800s, while using solar power to produce steam. The modern solar energy movement started as a response to the oil embargo and energy crisis of the 1970s.
Today, there are a number of commercial solar power plants, and some individuals are using solar panels to heat houses and commercial buildings. Some generators are even contributing energy to the electric grid. The innovation of photovoltaic solar energy has helped address concerns about climate change, energy efficiency, and energy security.