Australia: Professor Green awarded this year’s CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science

Green was recognized for his leadership and research on photovoltaics, said the Australian Museum, which presents the Eureka awards ceremony annually. In a statement, it commented: “In the battle against climate change and global warming, Professor Martin Green is a shining light. Over the past three decades, he has led the international field in solar cell development, delivering cost-effective technology that has the ability to rival and ultimately replace human reliance on fossil fuels.

“Professor Martin Green is not only ‘the father of photovoltaics’, he is the global leader in solar cell technology. While many innovations in alternative energy production remain experimental, Professor Green has had a real impact by taking this technology out of the laboratory and into the factory.”

It went on to say that Green has been a pioneer in photovoltaics research for more than 30 years, holding the world record for silicon cell efficiency almost continuously over this period, including the present record of 25 percent – “a level of efficiency long believed to be impossible”.

The statement continued: “Having created the world’s leading photovoltaics research centre, Professor Green has attracted some of the best local and international talent. The list of alumni from the centre reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the solar energy world. Former students include Professor Andrew Blakers, director of the ARC Centre for Excellence for Solar Energy Systems (Australian National University); Dr Roland Einhaus, research and development director of Apollon Solar in France; and Dr Stuart Bowden, research and development director at the Solar Power Laboratory at Arizona State University. And with Professor Green’s assistance, entrepreneur Dr Zhengrong Shi has commercialized solar cell technology in China on an unprecedented scale.”

Professor Green’s global leadership has been recognized by his appointment as Chair of the panel for review of the US Department of Energy’s Photovoltaic Program, and membership of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization Consultative Group on Solar Energy Research and Applications.

SolarWorld Einstein Award

In related news, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and micro-finance pioneer, Muhammad Yunus, who enabled over 400,000 solar power systems to be installed in rural Bangladesh, is set to receive this year’s SolarWorld Einstein Award.

Germany-based SolarWorld AG has said it will honor the professor of economics and founder of the Grameen Bank in recognition of his breakthrough concept of micro-loans for the poor, which have helped millions of people worldwide escape poverty.

“Professor Yunus stands for radically new thinking in economics and banking. He has recognized the potential of the poorest of this world who manage to make a decent living on the basis of a small starting credit, a lot of creativity and the sun as the source of energy. This is more than exemplary,” explains Dr. Ing. h. c. Frank Asbeck, chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG.

On the basis of micro-loans granted by banks held by the Grameen family since 1983, Yunus developed the concept of “social business,” which has inspired similar activity worldwide. This type of business does not strive to maximize profits and generate dividends, but to solve social and ecological problems. Social business companies make available technologies for clean drinking water, affordable medication or inexpensive, clean energy.

The nonprofit company Grameen Shakti (GS) is such a social business, which since its founding in 1996 has dedicated itself to providing energy to off-grid rural regions of Bangladesh. With help from micro-loans, program recipients can obtain small off-grid solar power plants. This clean energy enables regional residents to work after dark, learn more in school and operate electric machines, radios and mobile phones. At the same time, it reduces climate and health hazards emanating from kerosene lamps. Thousands of women were trained in the installation and maintenance of these solar plants, providing them a reliable income. Due to savings on kerosene costs, solar plant owners can pay back the loans within two to three years. GS is pursuing the objective of installing one million solar power systems by the year 2015.

The SolarWorld Einstein Award 2010 will be presented in a ceremony on the occasion of the 25th European Photovoltaic Conference in Valencia, Spain, on September 6. In the same ceremony, the SolarWorld Junior Einstein Award 2010, bestowed upon young scientists in the field of solar technology, will also be presented.