PVSC Awards

William R. Cherry Award Winner

2020 IEEE William Cherry Award to be presented at the 47th IEEE PVSC to

Professor James Sites

James Sites is a Professor of Physics at Colorado State University. He began his photovoltaics career 45 years ago with cells made by ion-beam sputtering of indium–tin–oxide onto silicon. Since then, he has primarily focused on the device physics of polycrystalline thin-film solar cells, particularly CIGS and CdTe, that are compatible with cost-effective manufacturing. His goals have been to quantitatively separate the various solar-cell loss mechanisms, to explain the details of the mechanisms, and to suggest strategies for improved performance. In recent years he has collaborated closely with Prof. W.S. Sampath on the fabrication, characterization, and analysis of high-efficiency CdTe cells.

Prof. Sites has always enjoyed working closely with students at all levels. Several generations of his students have helped him build a comprehensive PV measurement lab, and together they have developed a variety of analytical and simulation techniques. Thirty of his students have now completed their PhD degree, over forty their MS, and many of them have continued with active roles in the photovoltaics community.

Over time, Prof. Sites has assumed an increasing leadership role with thin–film solar–cell research, and he collaborates closely with several companies and other universities in the U.S. and abroad. He has had a particular focus on increasing the collaboration among the different groups working on CdTe at the device level, which has led to several productive joint projects and a series of annual workshops.

Prof. Sites was an undergraduate at Duke and a graduate student at Cornell, where he built the first dilution refrigerator in the U.S. and then cooled 3He to millikelvin temperatures by compressing the liquid to solid. As a postdoc at Los Alamos, he continued with low temperatures to magnetically align nuclei to measure their gamma-ray distributions. Since joining the Colorado State faculty, however, he has focused on semiconductor physics with the bulk of his work for many years in photovoltaics.

Submission Deadline: January 15th

About the 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.

Award Package

The award consists of a plaque, monetary award, recognition at the PVSC Opening Ceremony and a dedicated Cherry Award Talk during the Opening Ceremony.

Rules & Eligibility

  • Nominee must be a scientist or engineer who has made significant contributions to the science and/or technology of PV energy conversion, with dissemination by substantial publications and presentations.
  • Nominee must have had an extended period of activity in PV, contributions to the PVSC, and the expectation of continued activity.  Single outstanding contributions are not sufficient.
  • Professional and/or organizational efforts and achievements are not considerations for this award.
  • Nominees are not required to be members of IEEE or EDS.
  • Nominees from any country and institution are eligible. 
  • Previous recipients of the Cherry Award are not eligible.
  • Self-nominations will not be accepted.
  • Nominations may be re-submitted in subsequent years.

Nomination Package Requirements (Deadline: January 15th)

  • Complete Electronic Nomination Form with name of nominee, and his/her current affiliation and contact information.
  • Nominator's name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
  • A rationale (less than 150 words) of the nominee's contributions to the advancement of the PV field.
  • A citation (less than 40 words) listing the nominee's specific contributions to make them deserving of the award.
  • A list of the nominee's activities in the field.
  • A current CV for the nominee.
  • Give a personal view of the work and contributions of the candidate. Quality is better than quantity: Multiple nominations for the same candidate are accepted as long as each nomination represents the personal view of the nominator and not just a copy of another nomination form.

Questions? Contact the Cherry Committee Awards Chair, Eli Yablonovich at [email protected]



Eli Yablonovitch
Cherry Award Chair
UC Berkeley

Tim Anderson
University of Massachusetts,

Harry Atwater
California Institute of Technology

Sheila G. Bailey
NASA Glenn Research Center

Allen M. Barnett
University of New South Wales

Paul Basore
PV Specialist Services LLC

John Benner
Stanford University

Henry W. Brandhorst, Jr.
Auburn University

Timothy Coutts
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Keith Emery
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dennis J. Flood
North Coast Initiatives Ltd.

Americo F. Forestieri
MOE Consulting

Alex Freundlich
University of Houston

Vasilis Fthenakis
Cherry Award Co-Chair
Columbia University

Martin A. Green
University of New South Wales

Christiana Honsberg
Arizona State University

Lawrence L. Kazmerski
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Richard R. King
Arizona State University

Sarah Kurtz
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

John D. Meakin
University of Delaware

Ryne Raffaelle
Rochester Institute of Technology

Eugene Ralph
PV Consulting

Angus Rockett
Colorado School of Mines

Angele Reinders
University of Twente

Ajeet Rohatgi
Georgia Institute of Technology

Steve Ringel
Ohio State University

BJ Stanbery
Helios Corporation

Ronald A. Sinton
Sinton Instruments

Dick Swanson

Pierre Verlinden
Trina Solar

Robert J. Walters
Naval Research Laboratory

David Wilt
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

Masafumi Yamaguchi
Toyota Technological Institute

Previous Recipients

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 1993

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 2003

Dr. Timothy J. Coutts 2005

Dr. Antonio Luque 2006

Dr. Masafumi Yamaguchi

Dr. Stuart Wenham 2009

Dr. Richard R. King 2010

Dr. Jerry M. Olson 2011

Dr. Sarah Kurtz 2012

Dr. Keith Emery 2013

Dr. Ronald A. Sinton 2014

Dr. Christiana Honsberg 2015

Dr. Pierre Verlinden 2016

Prof. Eli Yablonovitch 2017

Prof. Vasilis Fthenakis 2018

Dr. Harry Atwater 2019