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Australian recognised for achievements in solar

27th Jan 2012

A leading solar advocate was recognised for his work in the industry, receiving an award as part of yesterday's (January 26) Australia Day celebrations.

Professor Martin Green of the University of New South Wales was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his "service to science education as an academic and researcher, particularly through the development of photovoltaic solar cell technology, and to professional associations".

The Order of Australia recognises outstanding achievement and service to the country in any chosen field, with the 19-member Council for the Order of Australia presenting awards twice a year - Australia Day and the Queen's Birthday.

Speaking to the ABC, Prof Green used the appointment to highlight the importance of solar power to the future of renewable energy in the country.

According to the academic, the success of solar power seen in Germany should serve as inspiration for Australia.

"Germany has been the only country that's had a sensible long-term program in place to promote the use of renewables," he said yesterday (January 26).

"The German [feed-in tariff] scheme has been undoubtedly successful. It has single-handedly driven the world market for both wind and solar products and changed the industry from non-viable to the state it is now where it has the chance of being self-sustaining."

An opinion piece by the solar expert also appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this week, focusing on the importance of rooftop solar panel installation rather than whether the infrastructure was locally manufactured or imported from overseas.

"I am more interested in getting the real solar story out; that solar panels are a proven, reliable, ever cheaper source of electricity which can play a major role in powering the world," he wrote (January 21).

"If Australians don't understand that reality we'll be left scrapping on the global sidelines long after China, Germany and the rest, have run off with the renewables ball."

Prof Green's involvement with solar power stretches over 30 years and he has held the title of research director of CSG Solar since 2004, as well as being named chair of the review committee for the US Department of Energy's photovoltaic program in 2010.

Also recognised as Scientist of the Year in 2008, he is currently executive research director of the ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence at the University of NSW.

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar correspondent 

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