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26 June 2013

Fraunhofer ISE director receives SolarWorld Einstein Award for commitment to photovoltaics in Europe

The Einstein Award for 2013 from solar module maker SolarWorld AG of Bonn Germany has been awarded to professor Eicke R. Weber, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) Freiburg, Germany (the largest solar energy research institute in Europe), for his contribution to European solar energy research.

The Einstein Award has been presented since 2005 to people who have distinguished themselves in promoting the use of solar energy as an energy source.

Fraunhofer ISE director professor Eicke R. WeberPicture: Fraunhofer ISE director professor Eicke R. Weber.

Under Weber’s direction, Fraunhofer ISE develops expertise for the solar industry and carries it out to application maturity. “Weber is one of the European communicators and propagators for solar energy,” says SolarWorld’s CEO Dr Frank Asbeck. “He gave solar energy a voice, which is heard beyond the scientific community and reaches into politics and society at large,” he adds. 

The solar industry in Germany and Europe is heading into difficulty regarding the competition from Asia, particularly China. Weber has been responding to this situation by campaigning to keep cutting-edge photovoltaic technology in Europe.

“It [the award] reinforces my efforts in the struggle to keep Europe as a leading location for photovoltaics,” says Weber. “Germany and Europe still hold the lead in photovoltaic research and production technology, due not the least to our intensive research in this area,” he adds. 

“We can reach a global PV market of over 100GW/year by 2020 and of 300GW/year in 2025,” says Weber. “In order that Germany and Europe can continue to participate successfully in this global market, we need a European initiative similar to the Airbus model. In Europe, we need access to investment funds so that this key technology can develop in fair competition with our Asian competitors,” he adds.

“One example could be the construction of multi-gigawatt scale manufacturing facilities for wafers, cells and modules,” comments Dr Winfried Hoffmann, president of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association. “Serving as a beacon for the European PV industry, this project can point the way into the future.”

Tags: Fraunhofer ISE



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