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Andlinger Center Events

Date: May 10, 2012

Time: 4:30 PM -

Location: Computer Science 104

The final speaker of the spring semester Andlinger Center Highlight Seminar Series will be Dr. David Eaglesham, Chief Technology Officer of First Solar, Inc.  Dr. Eaglesham will address the topic “Challenges for the Photovoltaic Industry.”  The seminar will take place on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 4:30 PM in Computer Science 104.  A reception will follow and all members of the community are invited to attend.


David Eaglesham joined First Solar in 2006 as Vice President of Technology.  He was promoted to Chief Technology Officer in 2009.  Mr. Eaglesham has a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Bristol and achieved tenure as a Lecturer at Liverpool University.  He then worked at Lawrence Livermore as Chief Technologist and at Applied Materials as Director of Advanced Technologies.  He joined Bell Labs in 1988, where he worked on semiconductor deposition techniques and doping and became Director of Electronic Device Research.  He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, was named Outstanding Young Investigator by the Materials Research Society in 1994, and was MRS President in 2005.


This presentation will review the rather unfashionable prospects for PV to become a significant piece of the energy-mix for this century. The industry has been intensely challenged in the last two years by the abrupt collapse of prices and a consequent blood-bath in the capital markets. In addition, current pricing for shale gas would move the definition of “grid parity” downwards. While these shifts do not affect the underlying value of PV in the energy mix, they clearly present a formidable challenge to the growth of the industry. I will show that the underlying economics and energy-balance continue to favour PV as the long-term solution, with minimal carbon footprint and excellent scalability. However, the precipitous drop in margins presents a barrier to the growth of the industry that can only be overcome by a new round of radical innovation. I will discuss directions for this innovation based on proven materials systems in new combinations, and the application of classic semiconductor engineering approaches to PV devices.