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to capitalize on a nation’s investment in research. Foremost among these is a congressionally mandated study of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, reviewing the operation and achievements of this $2.3 billion award program for small companies and start-ups. He is also directing a major study on best practice in global innovation programs, entitled Comparative Innovation Policy: Best Practice for the 21st Century. Today’s meeting on “Partnering for Photovoltaic Manufacturing in the United States” forms part of a complementary analysis entitled Competing in the 21st Century: Best Practice in State & Regional Innovation Initiatives. The overarching goal of Dr. Wessner’s work is to develop a better understanding of how we can bring new technologies forward to address global challenges in health, climate, energy, water, infrastructure, and security.


Ken Zweibel is the founding director of the George Washington University Solar Institute. He has almost 30 years experience in solar photovoltaics. He was the program leader for the Thin Film PV Partnership Program at the National Renewable Energy Lab until 2006. The Thin Film Partnership worked with most participants in thin-film PV (companies, universities, scientists) and is often credited with being crucial to the development of thin film PV in the United States. Corporate graduates of the Partnership include First Solar, Unisolar, Global Solar and numerous others. Dr. Zweibel subsequently co-founded and became president and chairman of a thin-film CdTe PV start-up, PrimeStar Solar. PrimeStar was subsequently purchased by General Electric and is now the feature company in their solar portfolio. In 2008 he became founding director of The George Washington University Solar Institute.

Dr. Zweibel is well known worldwide in solar energy. Recently, he coauthored a Scientific American article (January 2008) on solar PV and concentrating solar power as solutions to climate change and energy problems. He has also written two books and numerous articles on solar PV. He is participating on the DoE “Solar Vision” activity, which is defining a pathway for solar to be deployed on an energy significant scale in the United States. Dr. Zweibel is a graduate of the University of Chicago in physics.


* Biographies as of July 2009, distributed at symposium.

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