The parent company of SolarWorld has honored founders of U.S.-based Christian nonprofit Water Missions International and the largest solar inverter manufacturer, Germany-based SMA, in the company’s annual Einstein Awards ceremony.
At an event attended by solar researchers and solar-industry leaders, SolarWorld saluted Water Missions founders Molly and George Greene III of Charleston, S.C., for their organization’s use of solar power to operate water pumps in filtrating clean, safe water supplies for communities in developing economies.
The Greenes devote their lives to voluntary leadership of an organization that employs 150 people in nine countries to provide clean water supplies and educational and community support for their use. An estimated 1.2 billion people, especially children under 5, suffer – and die – from water-borne parasites and disease. As few as four solar panels can power a pump to supply water to up to 5,000 people.
SolarWorld AG Chairman and CEO Frank Asbeck also announced that the company would donate up to 100 kW of power to Water Missions. In the eight years of SolarWorld’s Einstein Awards program, the Greenes are the first recipients from America.
Also honored with an Einstein Award for outstanding service rendered in the field of solar energy was Günther Cramer, co-founder of SMA. Cramer and three partners founded SMA Regelsysteme GmbH while working at the University of Kassel in 1981. The company was renamed SMA Technology AG in 2004. Over 30 years, Cramer transformed SMA into a company employing 5,500 people. Today, SMA is the technology and global market leader in the manufacture of solar inverters, a device that converts direct electrical current to alternating current.
Finally, the Junior Einstein Award was presented to physicist Bianca Lim from the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hameln, Germany. The 30-year-old won the recognition for her work on boron-silicon compounds in silicon solar cells. The compounds are an important remaining limitation on the rising energy-generation efficiency of solar photovoltaic cells. The phenomenon has been recognized for several years, but the causes have not been fully understood.