GridEdge External Advisory Board

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Harish Hande

Harish Hande is an engineer and renewable energy entrepreneur with extensive grassroots experience in meeting the energy requirements of rural households.  He co-founded SELCO India in 1995 to eradicate poverty by promoting sustainable technologies in rural India. SELCO has installed over 125,000 solar lighting systems in rural households. Dr. Hande's experience includes a large number of health, education, and water-related projects, including rural and urban clinics, schools, dormitories, and irrigation and drinking water systems. He was awarded the 2011 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy, and Social Entrepreneur of the Year from the Schwab and Khemkha Foundations.

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Joel Jean

Joel Jean is the CEO and co-founder of Swift Solar, a startup company spun out of GridEdge Solar in 2018 to commercialize lightweight, flexible, and high-efficiency perovskite-perovskite tandem solar modules. He previously served as the founding Executive Director of the GridEdge Solar research program at MIT, which during his tenure grew to support six principal investigators along with thirty graduate students, research scientists, undergraduates, and postdocs spanning four MIT departments (Chemistry, EECS, DMSE, and MechE). Joel is an expert in photovoltaic device physics, thin-film deposition technologies, and cost modeling of next-generation solar technologies. He has co-authored a wide range of publications on solar technology and energy policy, including the MIT Future of Solar Energy Study. Joel received his PhD and SM from MIT and his BS from Stanford University, all in electrical engineering.

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Sarah Kurtz

Sarah Kurtz obtained her PhD in 1985 from Harvard University and joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in Golden, CO. She is known for her contributions to developing multijunction GaInP/GaAs solar cells, supporting the concentrator photovoltaic industry, and more recently her work with PV performance and reliability. Her work has been recognized with a jointly received Dan David Prize in 2007, the Cherry Award in 2012, and the C3E Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Her role included managing the PV Reliability Group at NREL and working to facilitate the growth of the PV industry through improved understanding of the performance and reliability of PV. After more than 30 years at NREL, Sarah Kurtz has joined UC Merced as a Professor in the School of Engineering, where her group studies the effects of temperature and soiling on the performance of solar cells.

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Lidija Sekaric

Lidija Sekaric is the director of strategy and marketing at Siemens and previously served as the director of the DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), where she helped manage and balance the portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment programs in achieving DOE SunShot goals. Before that, she served as a senior advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of Energy and as a technical and market advisor on the world's largest distributed solar generation projects. Her extensive experience in this industry also includes research in nanoscale science and engineering. Her specific accomplishments in this area include developing record-setting devices in nano-photonics, electronics, nanomechanics, and sensors. She has more than 40 scientific publications and holds 30 U.S. patents. Lidija received her Ph.D. and Master of Science degree in Applied Physics from Cornell University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College.

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Henry Snaith

Henry Snaith is a professor of physics at the University of Oxford, where he leads a research group of 20 scientists primarily focused on advancing the fundamental understanding and operation of solid-state dye-sensitized, hybrid, and perovskite solar cells. He has made significant advances in solution-processed solar cells, including the first demonstration of gyroid-structured titania and mesoporous single crystals of TiO2 for dye-sensitized solar cells and the recent discovery of high-efficiency solid-state perovskite thin film and mesosuperstructured solar cells. Henry has received numerous awards for his work on perovskite solar cells, including the MRS Outstanding Young Investigator Award in 2014, election as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015, and the EU-40 Materials Prize in 2016. 

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Dirk Weiss

Dirk Weiss heads Technology Assessment in First Solar's CTO office. Dirk studied physics, received a doctorate in Materials Science from Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work experience spans both academia and industry—ranging from a startup to a conglomerate (United Technologies Corp.). His technical expertise includes renewable energy systems (photovoltaics, fuel cells, thermoelectric devices), nanotechnology, and material characterization.