A Short History of Photovoltaic-Powered Products

Angèle Reinders, Wouter Eggink

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

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This chapter presents and discusses the historical development of PV-powered products, such as pocket calculators, lamps, and charging devices. The timeline goes from the 50s until 2015 and includes a comparison with product designs of “normal things,” such as televisions, lamps, and furniture. By zooming in to the historical development of solar-powered wristwatches, it is shown that a correlation exists between the appearance of a new technology, such as photovoltaics (PV), and the aesthetics of the dominant design movements. During the diffusion period of a new technology, such as PV, in society, the conformity of this technology to the looks of the prevailing design movements of these diffusion periods increases. At the same time that PV technologies became successful, PV-powered products’ features became less technical and started to looked more and more like “normal things.” This chapter is supported by multiple illustrations and photos of PV-powered products in the course of time, among which are wristwatches.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesigning with Photovoltaics
EditorsAngèle Reinders
Place of PublicationBoca Raton
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781315097923
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2020


  • Photovoltaics
  • Design history
  • Design engineering
  • Sustainable energy
  • 22/3 OA procedure


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