Primary cells, such as the common zinc–carbon batteries, act as power sources directly, but secondary cells (i.e.
Low-efficiency silicon solar cells have been decreasing in cost and multijunction cells with close to 30% conversion efficiency are now commercially available.
Electrochemical electricity generation is important in portable and mobile applications.
Currently, most electrochemical power comes from batteries.
Electricity generation at central power stations started in 1882, when a steam engine driving a dynamo at Pearl Street Station produced a DC current that powered public lighting on Pearl Street, New York.
The new technology was quickly adopted by many cities around the world, which adopted their gas fueled street lights to electric power, and soon after electric lights would be used in public buildings, in businesses, and to power public transport, such as trams and trains.