Solar Power World’s Frank Andorka recently posted a list of 23 solar pioneers whose names you should know. I will listed out some and you can visit Frank's post by clicking the title above for more detail.
...(5) 1816 Robert Stirling invented Stirling engine that concentrates the sun’s thermal energy to produce power.
(6) 1839 Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect.
(8) 1873 Willoughby Smith discovered the photoconductivity of selenium.(10) 1883 Charles Fritts first to conceive the idea of solar energy.
(11) 1891 Clarence Kemp patented the first commercial solar water heater.
(14) 1918 Jan Czochralski developed a way to grow silicon crystal.
(15) 1954 Gordon Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Darryl Chapin of Bell Labs developed the very first silicon solar cell.
(16) 1960 H. Leslie Hoffman's company achieves 14% efficient solar cells.
(18) 1970s Dr. Elliot Berman brought the solar price down from $100 a watt to $20 a watt.
(20) 1980 Bill Yerkes founded ARCO Solar, the first company to produce more than 1 MW of production.
...(23) COULD BE YOU!