Principal Solar Institute

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Meet the PSI Ratings Expert Panelists

The Principal Solar Institute has assembled an exclusive panel of world-renowned solar energy researchers who defined and certified the PSI Module and PSI System Ratings and continue to be actively involved in PSI Ratings development.

Kenneth G. AllenKenneth G. Allen
Chief Operating Officer, Principal Solar Inc.

Kenneth G. Allen brings a wealth of knowledge to the Principal Solar Institute from his experience as team leader in Administration and Engineering at Texas Utilities and later at Texas Independent Energy. Kenneth spent 30 years as a manager at TXU Energy, one of the nation’s largest electricity generation companies.  During that term, Kenneth oversaw construction of several gigawatts of generation.  After leaving TXU, Kenneth joined Texas Independent Energy, an entrepreneurial startup, where he spent nine years managing gas-fired facilities and selling electricity to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

Dr. Govindasamy (Mani) TamizhManiDr. Govindasamy (Mani) TamizhMani
President, TUV Rheinland PTL (Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory)
Professor, Department of Electronic Systems, Arizona State University

Dr. Mani earned his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Madras and his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology. He has been involved in R&D; activities related to photovoltaics and fuel cells for over 25 years and photovoltaic module testing and certification activities for over 10 years. He has been involved in test standards’ development activities since 1996. He has served or has been serving as a member of various standards committees including Canadian Standards Council, IEEE, IEC and ASTM. He has taught graduate level courses related to photovoltaics, fuel cells, electrolysis and batteries, has published more than 50 journal and conference papers, and has served as a reviewer of numerous conference and journal publications including IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, Progress in Photovoltaics and Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

Robert Birkmire, Ph.D.Robert Birkmire, Ph.D.
Director, Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC), University of Delaware
Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Department of Physics, University of Delaware

Dr. Robert W. Birkmire earned his B.S. in Physics at Lowell Technological Institute and his MS and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Delaware. He was appointed IEC Director in January of 1996 having previously served as Acting Director of IEC from January 1993 to December 1993 and manager of the Electronic Materials Laboratory. He has been principal investigator on numerous government and industrial contracts on amorphous and polycrystalline thin film solar cells. His current research efforts are growth and characterization of thin film semiconductors for photovoltaic and opto-electronic devices and the relationship of the growth process to film properties and device performance. He is actively involved in developing effective mechanisms to transfer laboratory results to commercial processes with particular emphasis on implementing model-based process control schemes using advanced sensor technologies.

Dr. Birkmire is author of over 200 technical publications, is inventor on eight U.S. patents, and has served on numerous program and organizing committees for international conferences, and was honored with the World Renewable Energy Network Pioneer Award in 2002. He is Associate Editor of Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment and is on the Editorial Board of Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells. Dr. Birkmire is the Executive Director of the Council for Photovoltaic Research, an organization of university faculty started in 1989 to promote and support photovoltaic research by working closely with DOE, NREL, industry, universities and Congress.

Robert P. H. Chang, Ph.D.Robert P. H. Chang, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University

Dr. Robert P. H. Chang is a recognized innovator in materials research, interdisciplinary science education, and international networking. Dr. Chang earned his B.S. in Physics and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics at MIT and Princeton respectively. He spent 15 years performing basic research at Bell Labs (Murray Hill) and helped in the development of low temperature plasma processing for the microelectronics industry. During his tenure at Northwestern University, he has headed the NSF-funded Materials Research Center for fourteen years during which time he provided a new vision for the center and launched new interdisciplinary research initiatives. His current research interests include nanostructured materials, nanophotonics, and advanced solar cell development. An example is the next generation of all solid state flexible solar cell with high efficiency and low production cost. Dr. Chang is a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society and the Materials Research Society

David WilliamsDavid Williams
Chief Executive Officer, dissigno

David Williams currently leads dissigno, a solar developer in natural markets with a presence in Aruba and Philippines. He is also peer reviewer for the US Department of Energy’s SunShot program and lead for National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Quality Assurance Communication task force. Most recently he oversaw CleanPath’s technology, risk and development investment strategies for a revolving development equity fund as Chief Risk Officer.

Previously, he was the Chief Technical Officer for a developer of solar projects in Central and Eastern Europe based in Prague, Czech Republic. Mr. Williams oversaw the installation of over 50 photovoltaic plants in the United States. In his role as VP of Risk and Asset Management at Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), his team constructed and operated over 42 MW of solar plants in a wide range of PV technologies. Mr. Williams was the owner’s representative overseeing the design, construction, and operations of the 14 MW Nellis Air Force base’s solar plant in 2007. He has placed into commercial operation product from over 15 PV manufacturers across 5 solar technologies and provided technical due diligence on projects exceeding 1,000MW. Mr. Williams has been involved in developing renewable energy projects in the Americas, Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Mr. Williams also is founder and CEO of a solar developer in the African off-grid solar markets as a winner of an International Finance Corporation (IFC) grant. He has a background in industrial construction at Shell Oil and Procter & Gamble.

Mr. Williams has written several technical papers and was selected as one of Time Magazine’s Innovator’s of the year in 2005. He is a regular contributor to solar publications and has been featured in Wired,, Discover Magazine, Radio Australia, and BBC Ecuador. He has been an invited speaker to University California, Stanford University, Solar Power International, InterSolar, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, US Department of Defense, and US Department of Energy. Mr. Williams has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Matthew A. Thompson, Ph. D.Matthew A. Thompson, Ph. D.
Executive Director, Principal Solar Institute

Matthew Thompson is a scientist with 23 years experience in semiconductor process development and yield enhancement at Motorola and at Freescale Semiconductor. At Motorola’s Advanced Process Development Laboratory, he developed vertical gate oxidation processes and equipment. In a collaborative research and development project that included Motorola and IBM, he designed Synchrotron x-ray optics for deep submicron lithography, and supported x-ray mask design. The project culminated with a successful fabrication of fully functional memory chips using x-ray lithography. In another industry research project, Matthew worked with Motorola and Lucent Technologies to develop 200 mm mask manufacturing processes for a novel projection electron beam lithography technique. In addition to these advanced lithography research projects, he developed computer algorithms for Complimentary Phase Shift Masks, leading to volume manufacture of products with 50 nm gates using 248 nm imaging tools. At Freescale Semiconductor, he worked to improve profitability and performance by development and deployment of Design for Manufacturability methodology. Matthew holds six patents in areas such as electronic design processing, x-ray mirror design, and advanced e-beam lithography, and optical and photo mask design. Matthew earned a B.S. in Physics at Texas Tech University, and a Ph. D. in Physics at The University of Texas at Austin. His doctoral research on electronic and magnetic properties of ultra-thin crystalline films pre-dates the popular terminology: “nano-technology”.

Rick Borry Rick Borry, Ph.D.
Chief Technology Officer, Principal Solar Institute

Rick Borry joined Principal Solar as CTO in May 2011 with their acquisition of Capstone Solar Conferences and subsequent re-branding as the Principal Solar Institute. He is responsible for company technology and information systems. Before joining Principal Solar, Dr. Borry was co-founder of Capstone Solar, and served as a technical advisor for Solar Logic, an early-stage micro-CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) company located at the University of North Texas Discovery Research Park in Denton, Texas.

While at Capstone Solar, Rick founded, which is credited as the first web platform to build communities around online conferences. Formerly, Dr. Borry was the Chief Software Architect for Certain Software after their acquisition of his online event registration startup, At various stages during that tenure, he worked in every department while the company grew from 1 to over 150 employees on three continents.

Dr. Borry earned his Doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and his B.S. from Clemson University. Rick has worked as a research associate for Dupont in Delaware and an environmental engineer for Hoechst Celanese in South Carolina.

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