PV Industry Pioneer Stanford “Stan” Ovshinsky Speaks At BIPV Summit

Stanford "Stan" Ovshinsky, now 86-years old, is theYoda of the solar market. In his words, "I lived through the greatdepression but I didn’t know what was that great about it."

He, along with his wife, co-founded ECD in 1960 and are some of the pioneers of renewable energy technology.

He’s the inventor of ECD’s flexible solar (triplejunction a-Si) as well as many of the nickel-metal-hydride batteriesused in today’s electric vehicles. He has 400 U.S. patents.

TheYodaofPV medium image1 2250 PV Industry Pioneer Stanford Stan Ovshinsky Speaks At BIPV Summit

Ovshinsky was the keynote speaker at todays’ BIPV summit in San Diego.

Raised in the machine shops and factories of Akron Ohioin what was then the rubber capital of the world, Ovshinsky startedraising money in 1977 to advance amorphous and disordered material. In1980 he started building a machine.

Ovshinsky’s critics and competitors call his originalmachine a white elephant – eight generations of commercial machineslater, ECD has a production machine with 30 megawatts of annualcapacity.  It’s a low-cost continuous web machine akin to  newspaperand photographic film production (technologies that Stanfordacknowledged might not be around much longer.

"You’ve got be make it cheap, not low cost"

Stan left ECD in 2007 and started Ovshinsky InnovationLLC. He left because the board did not share his vision of tremendousgrowth.

A subsidiary of his new firm, Ovshinsky Solar, looks tobuild 1 gigawatt of solar electrical production at a cost lower thancoal. Ovshinsky agrees with Dr, Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy inbelieving that solar has to be five times better.

A few quotes:

  • "What drove me wasn’t awards, or money or power. ECD, in its’ time,was a place for people of all races to reach their potential and worktogether for a common cause to change the world."
  • "If you put it on a personal basis, what you are doing is making a fair and equitable world and saving a planet worth saving."

A great man and an inspirational life.

You can read mores about Stanford Ovshinsky here and here.