The History of Electricity

The History of Electricity

Momentum Solar

What do you think of when you hear the word “electricity”? Do you picture Benjamin Franklin with a key and a kite? Or Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb? There are so many great inventors who played a huge role in what we know as electricity today – and they, in turn, helped push civilization forward.

Let’s take a quick peek at the history of electricity. Who knows? You may learn something new!

A Few Notable Moments in History


  • 1752: Benjamin Franklin discovered lighting and electricity were the same by tying a key to a kite string during a storm and conducting electricity.[1]
  • 1800: Alessandra Volt, invented the first electric battery.[1]
  • 1844: Samuel Morse, invented the first electric telegraph, which made it possible to send messages over a long distance across wires.[1]
  • 1882: Thomas Edison opened the first central electric power plant, Pearl Street Power Station in New York City, which could power 5,000 lights.[1]
  • 1920: The Federal Power Commission (FPC) is born.[1]
  • 1977: The U.S. established the Department of Energy for regulation purposes.[1]
  • 1997: First handheld electronic game (Auto Race) is invented.[2]
  • 1985: 300,000 simultaneous telephone conversations over single optical fiber.[1]
  • 1993: Weather Control Device / HAARP.[3]

When looking at the history of electricity in such a linear fashion, it’s easy to see that there have been significant advancements in its technology, acceptance and implementation. Between these milestones are other great inventions, such as Nikola Tesla inventing the first electric alternator in 1886. Followed by, electric air conditioning being introduced by W. Carrier in 1911. All of these small puzzle pieces fit together into one big picture and have helped modernize our world.[1]

How Does Electricity Work

Many utility companies use methods that involve combustion and fossil fuels. By burning fossil fuels, the power plants create pressure that moves giant turbines. The moving turbines then create friction. Friction is one of the main ways to produce electricity, and you’ve probably generated some at home without even knowing it!

Have you ever shuffled your feet across the carpet and reached for a person or an object and felt a small jolt? This is electricity that you have just built-up. Pretty cool, right? The giant turbines work similarly by using electromagnets in a copper coil to create that same effect.[4]

Unfortunately, this old-school method has some nasty side effects for our planet and environment. With each transfer of energy, blowing up the fuel, moving the turbines and harnessing the electricity, you lose some energy. Essentially, it takes a lot of fossil fuels to generate a moderate level of electricity… and fossil fuels are a limited resource. On top of harvesting a nonrenewable resource, fossil fuels generate harmful gasses that are released into our atmosphere, making this an inefficient way to produce energy.[2]

Cleaner, Greener Energy with Solar Panels

The process solar panels use to create electricity is vastly different from that of turbines, fossil fuels and copper coils. Solar panels harness the photons produced by the sun to generate direct current, or DC, electricity. When the photons hit the panel, they are absorbed by the panel’s semiconducting material.

Electrons then separate from the atoms and move around the solar cell. This movement of the electrons is what generates DC electricity. This electricity flows to the system’s inverter and is converted into alternating current, or AC, electricity. AC electricity is what is needed and used to supply power to your home or property.[5]

Momentum Solar is Here to Help!

Going solar with Momentum means choosing the best in the business! Although we haven’t been around since the day Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity, we have over a decade in the industry and take pride in our hard work and expertise. With a team of dedicated solar experts, we handle the process from start to finish to ensure a seamless transition to cleaner, price-protected energy.

Call us today to get started! 1-888-MOMENTUM.









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