After 55 years of development, photovoltaic electric generation is at a historic moment as it transitions from a niche technology to a significant source of clean, carbon-free energy.
Swanson discusses the promise of photovoltaic solar energy, policy issues needed to meet this promise, and how the industry is addressing these challenges.
Richard Swanson received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1974. In 1976, he joined the faculty at Stanford University where he and his group conceived and developed the point-contact solar cell.
Laboratory versions of these cells achieved a record 28 percent conversion efficiency in concentrator cells and 23 percent large-area one-sun cells. In 1991, Dr. Swanson resigned from his faculty position to devote full time to SunPower Corporation, a company he founded to develop and commercialize cost-effective photovoltaic power systems. Dr. Swanson currently serves as its President and Chief Technical Officer. Along with his students and co-workers, he has published more than 200 articles in journals and conference proceedings, as well as several book chapters.
In 2002, Dr. Swanson was awarded the William R. Cherry award by the IEEE for outstanding contributions to the photovoltaic field, and in 2006 the Becquerel Prize in Photovoltaics from the European Communities.