Australian Wins Global Energy Prize for His Contribution to Solar

University of New South Wales (UNSW) professor Martin Green has been named a Global Energy Prize winner for his work in solar PV that has increased the “cost effectiveness and efficiency of solar cells.”

According to the prize committee, sales of the systems containing the PERC solar cells invented by Green exceeded $4 billion by the end of 2016. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predictions indicate that the total sales of solar cells using his technology will exceed $1 trillion by 2040. 

Green is the director of the Australian Center for Advanced Photovoltaics, a collaborative entity involving several Australian Universities and research groups. According to UNSW, Green’s team in 1989 supplied the solar cells for the first PV system with an energy conversion efficiency of 20 percent. In addition, in 2014, he headed the development team that first demonstrated the conversion of sunlight into electricity with an energy conversion efficiency of 40 percent.

During a press conference announcing the winners, Nobel Prize winner and award committee chair Rodney John Allam said renewable energy was the primary research focus of the people competing for the prize. 

The Global Energy Prize is awarded every year by Russia’s president. Green will share the $62,000 prize award with Russian scientist Sergey Alekseenko, who was named a Global Energy Prize winner for his work in the field of heat power engineering. Elon Musk was among the 10 prize finalists for his efforts in driving the growth of e-mobility.

At the press conference, Oleg Budargin, vice-chairman of the World Energy Council and member of the Board of Trustees of the Global Energy Association, said: 

“Science and scientists today are at the forefront of entering the new technological cycle. This cycle poses an important task — improving the quality of life of mankind. Moreover, it is science that is called upon to become a locomotive for new education and new productions.”

Lead image credit: UNSW

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