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Solar Energy Sales Representatives


The use of solar energy dates to early times. Ancient Greeks designed their homes to face south so they could take advantage of the sun’s warmth and light, capturing more heat in the winter. The ancient Romans improved on these designs by adding more windows to the south side of homes and by putting glass panes in the windows, allowing more heat and light into buildings. The Greeks and Romans were among the first to use mirrors to reflect the sun’s heat to light fires.

In the 1500s, Leonardo da Vinci experimented with solar energy and created a rough collector that could focus sunlight into a central receiver, according to an article on the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Web site. In 1767, Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure built the world’s first working solar collector. In 1890, French physicist Henri Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect, the physical process through which a photovoltaic cell converts sunlight into electricity.

It wasn't until 1954 that the first effective solar photovoltaic (PV) device was created. Bell Labs, a U.S. company, developed this device which produced a useful amount of electricity. In 1956, architect Frank Bridgers used PV technology to design the Bridgers-Paxton building, the world’s first commercial office building featuring solar water heating and passive design. In 1958, the SEIA reported that, “solar cells were being used in small-scale scientific and commercial applications, including the space program.”

Interest in solar energy intensified in the United States in the 1970s, in response to the energy crisis and the resulting shortage of fuel. The U.S. government increased research on renewable energy sources, including solar power. It was expensive at the time to use solar power on a large scale, however, photovoltaic cells began to be used in remote applications, especially in the telecommunications industry. The first solar electric generation station plants were built in California’s Mojave Desert from 1984 through 1990, and they are still in operation today.

Costs to develop solar power technologies have decreased greatly in recent years. State and federal government policies are encouraging the growth of the industry as a means to help the United States gain energy independence from foreign countries and create energy technologies that are more environmentally friendly. In 2019, solar energy comprised 9 percent of all renewable energy in the United States, an increase from 5 percent in 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The solar sales and assessment field has evolved since the 1970s. Today, a growing number of companies need experienced solar sales representatives to assess customers' solar energy needs and create customized plans for solar energy management. According to the National Solar Jobs Census, solar jobs have increased across the United States, and there are many states with emerging solar markets. 

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