The photovoltaic effect was discovered in 1839 by the French scientist Edmond Becquerel but not properly explained until Albert Einsteins famous 1905 paper that introduced the idea of energy quanta or what we now call photons. In 1954, Bell Labs produced the first photovoltaic cell capable of powering an actual device and in 1958, photovoltaic cells were used to power the radios on the Vanguard I satellite. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter had 32 solar panels installed on the White House but these were later removed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Its now 2012 so where are all the PV panels in St. Louis? And what about climate change the debate in scientific circles and much of the public domain is largely over so why isnt this issue driving rapid change in the energy business? I will propose answers to at least some of these questions by reviewing the current state of the art in PV conversion technology research, current and likely future costs of PV generated and retail electricity in various parts of the world and how rapidly declining PV costs and rapidly increasing concerns about climate change will likely impact the global energy business.
Photovoltaic Energy Production, Climate Change and the Business of Energy
Dr. Gregory M. Wilson, Director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado
September 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm
BioGreg Wilson is currently the Director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Prior to joining NREL in 2011, he was the Director of Corporate Business development at MEMC Electronic Materials where he was responsible for solar materials technology evaluations related to potential acquisitions and equity investments. Over his 16 year career at MEMC, he was also the Director of 3 semiconductor materials research and development groups, established a new R&D group devoted to layer transfer technology and established MEMCs SOI wafer business. Greg holds a D.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Washington University.