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Posted: May 5, 2009

Photovoltaic systems growing faster than other renewable sources

(Nanowerk News) Photovoltaic power generation grew by 73 percent between 2007-08, making it the fastest growing source of alternative energy, Monica Oliphant, president of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), said upon her arrival in Delaware from Australia to attend the 2009 Karl Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit ceremony at the University of Delaware on Thursday, May 7.
The 2009 award will be presented to Hermann Scheer, a member of German Parliament, president of EUROSOLAR and chairperson of the World Council for Renewable Energy, at 3 p.m., in Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts on UD's Newark, Del., campus. Those who plan to attend should RSVP to the Office of the Provost at [provost-office@udel.edu].
Monica Oliphant, president of the International Solar Energy Society, with Karl Böer, in whose honor the highly respected international honor is named.
Monica Oliphant, president of the International Solar Energy Society, with Karl Böer, in whose honor the highly respected international honor is named.
Oliphant said there are not many awards for scientists, especially for renewable energy, so the Böer award, which is given by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), an independent chapter of ISES, is highly respected around the world.
Oliphant, who is also a board member of ISES and a member of the Böer award selection committee, said that Scheer stood out among all the applicants because of his role in developing and promoting the concept of feed-in tariffs, which pays up to three times the normal tariffs for photovoltaic energy that is fed into the grid in many countries.
“Because of that, Germany has moved to the forefront in the penetration of photovoltaic energy,” Oliphant said. “In the city of Freiburg, the penetration of photovoltaic systems is very high. You hardly see any house without a photovoltaic system because it is a good income earner.”
Feed-in tariffs have been accepted in about 70 countries and “it has been the single greatest incentive for the penetration of photovoltaic systems around the world,” Oliphant said.
Oliphant lauded the recent announcement by UD President Patrick Harker that the University would install photovoltaic systems that would eventually generate 6 MW of electricity.
“I think it's a great initiative, It's really something special. It will be the first University in the world to generate such an amount of photovoltaic power, and it will offset quite a lot of carbon emissions,” Oliphant said. “It is also worth noting that a lot of photovoltaic systems, particularly thin film technology was developed at the University of Delaware at the IEC, which was started by Karl Böer.”
The medal and a cash award of $50,000, funded by the Karl W. Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit Trust, is given every two years to an individual who has made significant pioneering contributions to the promotion of solar energy as an alternate source of energy through research, development or economic enterprise or to an individual who has made extraordinarily valuable and enduring contributions to the field of solar energy in other ways.
The award is given in honor of Karl Wolfgang Böer, a longtime University of Delaware faculty member, founder of UD's Institute of Energy Conversion and a distinguished scientist in the field of solar cells.
The recipient of the award is chosen by a panel of commissioners composed of scientists and presidents of several solar energy-related professional societies, a representative of the U.S. Secretary of Energy, the past recipient and a member of the Böer family.
Scheer, who has been a member of the German Parliament since 1980, was named president of EUROSOLAR in 1988 and was made chairperson of the World Council for Renewable Energy in 2001.
He has a doctorate in economic and social science from the Free University of Berlin.
Scheer was an assistant professor at the Technical University of Stuttgart in the Faculty of Economics from 1972-78 and worked as a system analyst at the German Nuclear Research Centre from 1978-80.
Since 1980, when he was first elected as a member of the German Parliament, he has served as chairperson of the Arms Control and Disarmament Committee and since 1983 has been delegated by the German Parliament to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. He also served as chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture between 1994 and 1997.
Scheer holds two Doctor honoris causa, one from the Technical University of Varna (Bulgaria) and the other from the University of Luneburg (Germany).
He has chaired as well as initiated numerous international research and development conferences, such as the first and second World Renewable Energy Forums in 2002 and 2004, the International Parliamentary Forum on Renewable Energy in 2004 and the World Renewable Energy Assembly in 2007.
Scheer was awarded the World Solar Prize by the second World Conference on Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conversion in Vienna in 1998 and received the Alternative Nobel Prize in Stockholm in 1999.
He was named Hero for the Green Century by Time magazine in 2002, received the Global Leadership Award from the American Council on Renewable Energy in 2004, the World Wind Energy Award from the World Wind Energy Conference in Beijing in 2004, and the SolarWorld Einstein Award by Solar World in 2005.
The first Karl W. Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit award was presented in 1993 to former President Jimmy Carter, who was cited as an individual who spurred development and focused world attention on solar energy.
Other recipients of the Böer medal include:
1995, David E. Carlson, vice president of the Thin Film Division of Solarex, an AMOCO subsidiary;
1997, Adolf Goetzberger, founder of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems;
1999, Stanford R. Ovshinsky, a pioneer in the science of amorphous semiconductors resulting in the development of low-cost, thin-film silicon solar cells;
2001, Allen M. Barnett, a pioneer in high-performance, thin-crystalline silicon solar cells and currently senior scientist in UD's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering;
2003, Martin A. Green, Inaugural Scientia Professor at the Centre for Photovoltaic Engineering in Sydney, Australia, and foundation director for the Centre for Third Generation University of New South Wales in Sydney;
2005, Yoshihiro Hamakawa, adviser professor to the chancellor at Ritsumeikan University in Shiga, Japan, and a prominent scholar in the field of solar photovoltaic energy; and
2007, Lawrence L. Kazmerski, director, U.S. Department of Energy's National Center for Photovoltaics and a pioneer and leader in the field of solar electricity.
Source: Institute of Physics
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