In recent times, photovoltaic (PV) technologies for solar energy conversion have C gained greater recognition. World production of PV cells and modules over the last five years grew at an average of around 40% a year. The history of modern PV science started more than half a century ago. However, the period that followed exploited the mid-20(th) century developments in the basics of solid-state physics and semiconductor science. With only a few exceptions, almost no major achievements were attained during a long period of time. The present paper offers an attempt of a critical retrospective look at the history and current progress of solar PV research from a personal viewpoint. It also addresses the current status of research on conventional solid-state PV devices and compares it with the alternative or,cyanic and molecular PV systems. The paper briefly describes the potential of new types of organic and mesoscopic dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). The paper shows that chemical physics rather than traditional solid-state physics is expected to lead to exciting challenges in the future of PV science.