Expert Predicts Bright Future for Solar Power

Solar power holds the best promise for a clean, reliable energy source in the 21st Century, Yoshihiro Hamakawa, adviser professor to the chancellor at Ritsumeikan University in Shiga, Japan, said at University of Delaware on Thursday, April 28.

Hamakawa gave the lecture after he received the 2005 Karl Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit. The award is given in honor of Karl Wolfgang Böer, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics and Solar Energy at UD and founder of UD's Institute of Energy Conversion.

The recipient of the Böer award is chosen by a panel of commissioners composed of scientists and presidents of several solar energy-related professional societies, a representative of the U.S. secretary of energy and a member of the Böer family.

The bronze medal and a cash award of $40,000, funded by the Karl W. Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit Trust, is given to an individual who has made significant pioneering contributions to the promotion of solar energy as an alternate source of energy through research, development or economic enterprise or to an individual who has made extraordinarily valuable and enduring contributions to the field of solar energy in other ways.

A prominent scholar in the field of solar photovoltaic energy conversion, Hamakawa explored new materials, device physics and fabrication technologies that led to improving the efficiency of many types of solar cells. In the late 1970s, he was a leader in demonstrating valance electron control using an amorphous silicon p-i-n heteroface device structure and developed a new wide bandgap material, amorphous silicon carbide, which is now used by many industries worldwide for manufacture of solar panels.

The first Karl W. Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit award was presented in 1993 to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who was cited as an individual who spurred development and focused world attention on solar energy.

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