Stanford "Stan" Ovshinsky, now 86-years old, is the Yoda of the solar market. In his words, "I lived through the great depression but I didn't know what was that great about it."

He, along with his wife, co-founded ECD in 1960 and are some of the pioneers of renewable energy technology.

He's the inventor of ECD's flexible solar (triple junction a-Si) as well as many of the nickel-metal-hydride batteries used in today's electric vehicles. He has 400 U.S. patents.

Ovshinsky was the keynote speaker at todays' BIPV summit in San Diego.

Raised in the machine shops and factories of Akron Ohio in what was then the rubber capital of the world, Ovshinsky started raising money in 1977 to advance amorphous and disordered material. In 1980 he started building a machine.

Ovshinsky's critics and competitors call his original machine a white elephant - eight generations of commercial machines later, ECD has a production machine with 30 megawatts of annual capacity.  It's a low-cost continuous web machine akin to  newspaper and photographic film production (technologies that Stanford acknowledged might not be around much longer.

"You've got be make it cheap, not low cost"

Stan left ECD in 2007 and started Ovshinsky Innovation LLC. He left because the board did not share his vision of tremendous growth.

A subsidiary of his new firm, Ovshinsky Solar, looks to build 1 gigawatt of solar electrical production at a cost lower than coal. Ovshinsky agrees with Dr, Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy in believing that solar has to be five times better.

A few quotes:

  • "We need to use science and technology to change the world."
  • "What drove me wasn't awards, or money or power. ECD, in its' time, was a place for people of all races to reach their potential and work together for a common cause to change the world."
  • "If you put it on a personal basis, what you are doing is making a fair and equitable world and saving a planet worth saving."

A great man and an inspirational life.

You can read more about Stanford Ovshinsky here and here.