PVSC 38 William R. Cherry Award Winner: Sarah Kurtz

Dr. Sarah Kurtz is currently a Principal Scientist and Manager of the Module Reliability and Systems Engineering Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). She has collaborated with others at NREL and around the world researching high-efficiency cells and PV reliability, with special emphasis on concentrator PV (CPV).

Dr. Kurtz received her PhD in Chemical Physics at Harvard University in 1985, working with Roy Gordon on the growth of amorphous silicon solar cells, and continued studying amorphous silicon as a post doc at the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI, now NREL). In 1986, she joined Jerry Olson (at SERI) to implement Dr. Olson’s invention of the GaInP/GaAs solar cell. In addition to the device fabrication and optimization, scientific studies included: effects of ordering of the group III sublattice on the optical properties, dilute-nitride materials and devices, dopant diffusion driven by non-equilibrium point-defect concentrations, multi-junction solar cell measurement techniques, and spectral effects on multi-junction cell performance. In 2004, she worked to implement Mark Wanlass’s invention of the inverted metamorphic GaInP/GaAs/GaInAs cell, setting a world record with an efficiency of 37.9%, a record that was surpassed about a month later by a cell from Spectrolab. When the cell efficiencies approached 40%, Dr. Kurtz moved from studying the cells to studying the reliability issues associated with implementing these into complete systems. She now manages a group that attempts to put scientific rigor behind PV module reliability testing. In the last year, she helped to form the International PV Quality Assurance Task Force to develop comparative test standards for PV modules, with the goal of eventually enabling application-specific lifetime prediction for both flat-plate and CPV modules. She is recognized worldwide as an expert on CPV technology and has received numerous awards both as an individual and as part of a team including the Dan David Prize (in 2007, with Jerry Olson), Energy100 Award by the Department of Energy, and R&D 100 Awards.


Please join us on Tuesday, June 5th for the Cherry Awards Reception
Location: Hilton Austin, Salon ABC
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Refreshments will be served

About the William R. Cherry Award

This award is named in honor of William R. Cherry, a founder of the photovoltaic community. In the 1950's, he was instrumental in establishing solar cells as the ideal power source for space satellites and for recognizing, advocating, and nurturing the use of photovoltaic systems for terrestrial applications. The William R. Cherry award was instituted in l980, shortly after his death. The purpose of the award is to recognize an individual engineer or scientist who devoted a part of their professional life to the advancement of the science and technology of photovoltaic energy conversion. The nominee must have made significant contributions to the science and/or technology of PV energy conversion, with dissemination by substantial publications and presentations. Professional society activities, promotional and/or organizational efforts and achievements are not considerations in the election for the award.

Nominations are due to the Cherry Award Chair by January 10 of each year. A nomination will remain active for 3 award cycles, after which a new nomination may be submitted.

To make a nomination, please submit a completed electronic nomination form and accompanying materials at: (http://www.ieee-pvsc.org/ePVSC/cherry/form.php). The information required on the electronic form is listed below:

1. The name of your nominee, and his/her current affiliation and contact information.
2. A rationale (less than 150 words) of the nominee's contributions to the advancement of the PV field.
3. A citation (less that 40 words) listing the nominee's specific contributions to make them deserving of the award.
4. A list of the nominee's activities in the field.
5. A current CV for the nominee.
6. Nominator's name, address, phone number and e-mail address.

The deadline for Cherry Award nominations to be considered for the upcoming IEEE PVSC is January 10 of each year.


Robert J. Walters, Chair
Naval Research Laboratory

Stuart Wenham, Award Chair
University of South Wales

Tim Anderson
University of Florida

Charles Backus
ASU Research Park

Sheila G. Bailey
NASA Glenn Research Center

Allen M. Barnett
University of New South Wales

Paul Basore
Hanwha Solar America

John Benner

Henry W. Brandhorst, Jr.
Auburn University

David E. Carlson
BP Solar

Timothy Coutts
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dennis J. Flood
North Coast Initiatives Ltd.

Americo F. Forestieri
MOE Consulting

Martin A. Green
University of New South Wales

Lawrence L. Kazmerski
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Richard King
Spectrolab, Inc.

Antonio Luque
Instituto De Energia Solar – UPM

John D. Meakin
University of Delaware

Jerry Olson
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Eugene Ralph
PV consulting

Ajeet Rohatgi
Georgia Institute of Technology

Richard J. Schwartz
Purdue University

Richard M. Swanson
SunPower Corporation

David Wilt
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

Christopher R. Wronski
Pennsylvania State University

Masafumi Yamaguchi
Toyota Technical Institute

Previous Recepients

Dr. Paul Rappaport 1980

Dr. Joseph L. Loferski 1981

Prof. Martin Wolf 1982

Dr. Henry W. Brandhors
t 1984

Mr. Eugene L. Ralph

Dr. Charles E. Backus

Dr. David E. Carlson 1988

Dr. Martin A. Green 1990

Mr. Peter A. Iles 1991

Dr. Lawrence L. Kazmerski

Prof. Yoshihiro Hamakawa

Dr. Allen M. Barnett

Dr. Adolf Goetzberger

Dr. Richard J. Schwartz 1998

Dr. Christopher R. Wronski 2000

Dr. Richard M. Swanson 2002

Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi

Dr. Timothy J. Coutts

Dr. Antonio Luque

Dr. Masafumi Yamaguchi

Dr. Stuart Wenham 2009

Dr. Richard King 2010

Dr. Jerry M. Olson 2011