Hermann Scheer, the German parliamentarian and author who played an instrumental role in getting the solar industry and renewable energy in general moving, has died at the age of 66.

Scheer, along with fellow Bundestag member Hans Josef Fell, crafted Germany's feed-in tariff policy in the early '90s. As a result, approximately 60 percent of the world's wind farms and 70 percent of its solar panels are located in the country. Other countries saw how renewable energy had allowed Germany to add to its grid and its employment rolls and slowly but steadily began to follow suit.

"If we can defeat climate change, it will be because of Hermann Scheer," said Travis Bradford, the managing director of the Prometheus Institute and a professor of renewable energy at the University of Chicago.

“Hermann Scheer was the George Washington of the renewable energy movement,” said ACORE President Michael Eckhart in a prepared statement.

Scheer founded Eurosolar, the Bonn-based NGO that led so much of the popular promotion of renewable energy in Europe, as well as the International Renewable Energy Agency. He was the author of numerous publications, including The Solar Strategy, A Solar Manifesto, and The Solar Economy.

A high-energy, sometimes confrontational speaker, Scheer often filled rooms at alternative energy conferences.