Charles Fritts - First Solar CellAccording to Encyclopedia Britannica the first genuine solar cell was built around 1883 by Charles Fritts, who used junctions formed by coating selenium (a semiconductor) with an extremely thin layer of gold.
Russell Ohl - Silicon Solar CellEarly solar cells, however, had energy conversion efficiencies of under one percent. In 1941, the silicon solar cell was invented by Russell Ohl.
Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin - Efficient Solar CellsIn 1954, three American researchers, Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin, designed a silicon solar cell capable of a six percent energy conversion efficiency with direct sunlight.
The three inventors created an array of several strips of silicon (each about the size of a razorblade), placed them in sunlight, captured the free electrons and turned them into electrical current. They created the first solar panels. Bell Laboratories in New York announced the prototype manufacture of a new solar battery. Bell had funded the research. The first public service trial of the Bell Solar Battery began with a telephone carrier system (Americus, Georgia) on October 4 1955.