Ulrike Jahn, senior researcher at VDE Renewables, has been awarded the 2021 Becquerel Prize for her contributions in the field of photovoltaics. The award was presented in a virtual ceremony this morning, as part of the opening of the annual EU PVSEC conference, which is being held virtually this week.
The Becquerel Prize – named for Alexandre Edmund Becquerel, who first discovered the photovoltaic effect – has been given since 1989 to scientists who have made an outstanding contribution to photovoltaics. Hosting the award ceremony earlier today, Christophe Ballif, chair of the Becquerel Committee, said that Jahn was chosen for her “outstanding and continuous contribution to the field, which is extremely important and sometimes underestimated in its difficulty, of the quality performance and assessment of photovoltaics modules and systems.”
Since publishing her first paper in 1992, Jahn has worked to better understand many of the degradation mechanisms affecting PV systems, and has developed methods to mitigate them. Giving a summary of her career, fellow renowned PV scientists Thomas Nordmann singled out Jahn’s leadership of the International Energy Agency’s Photovoltaic Power Systems program, where she has led a group focused on the performance, operation and reliability of PV systems for more than 25 years. He also noted that this is a responsibility she has kept on alongside several full-time jobs that have also been focused on ensuring quality and reliability in PV products.
“I am overwhelmed by the recognition I have received, and still not convinced that I deserve all these honors,” Jahn told the audience. “I understand this award as recognition for all the people in the PV community, and especially the IEA PVPS Task 13 experts who have contributed to this work.”
In her acceptance lecture, Jahn noted the importance of big data and digitalization to ensuring long-term reliability for solar energy systems.
“Solar bankability must be data driven. Big data is available, but it needs to be better organized and digitized, relying on interconnected platforms,” she told the audience. “Digitalization is the driver to ensure cost-effective increase of quality.”
She concluded the lecture by outlining her wish for the solar industry to see massive manufacturing capacity increases, particularly in Europe, as well as the development of a fully circular economy for solar energy materials, and the integration of solar within a range of applications and environments.
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