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2010 IEEE Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal

Dr. Richard Swanson, Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of SunPower Corporation
Dr. Richard Swanson

At the IEEE Honors Ceremony in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Saturday, June 26, Richard Swanson, chief technical officer and co-founder of SunPower Corporation, was honored with the 2010 IEEE Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal. The medal, sponsored by the Federation of Electric Power Companies, Japan, and the Semiconductor Research Foundation, Japan, recognized Swanson for the conception and commercialization of high-efficiency point-contact crystalline-silicon solar cell technology.

Swanson is internationally recognized for both his research and industry accomplishments. His work has addressed critical aspects of photovoltaic technologies to overcome limitations that slowed the progress of concepts moving from the laboratory to the manufacturing environment. His areas of research have investigated the semiconductor properties of silicon relevant for better understanding the operation of silicon solar cells, helping pave the way for steady improvement in silicon solar cell performance.

“When SunPower was founded 25 years ago, solar was little more than a concept,” said Swanson. “Today, it is within reach of becoming main stream throughout much of the world, and it is highly gratifying to be a part of this energy revolution. SunPower has contributed to the phenomenal growth of solar, and I have been fortunate to work with extraordinary engineers to deliver, what is today, the planet’s most powerful solar technology. It is my extreme privilege to accept the 2010 IEEE Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal.”

An IEEE Fellow and member of the National Academy of Engineering, Swanson holds 15 U.S. patents. Past awards include the IEEE William R. Cherry Award for outstanding contributions to the photovoltaic field, the Becquerel Prize for Outstanding Merits in Photovoltaics from the European Commission and, most recently, The Economist’s Energy and Environmental Award for 2009.

Solar power has grown at a compound annual growth rate of more than 50 percent since 2000 from less than 200 megawatts of global installations annually to more than 7,000 megawatts in 2009. Since Swanson founded SunPower in 1985, the company has successfully researched methods of increasing the efficiency of solar cells and, as a result, the company last week announced a new world-record, full-scale solar cell with a sunlight to electricity conversion efficiency of 24.2 percent.

Founded in 1985, SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB) designs, manufactures, and delivers the planet’s most powerful solar technology broadly available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company’s experience and proven results to maximize return on investment. With headquarters in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

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