Allen Barnett, solar energy pioneer
UD is known for engineering talent, and Allen Barnett is in that creative tier of engineers, a pioneer in the design of high-efficiency solar modules. New efficiencies have driven down the cost, so we’ve doubled the number of installations of the past 20 years in 2010 alone. The value of this technology is well recognized. If you look back five years, the average efficiency of a solar module was 8 or 9 percent. Today we’re pushing 20 percent. And Allen has already designed the next generation, which is 40 percent efficient. That makes most rooftops big enough to supply power for a year. That’s completely transformative. Delaware now ranks No. 3, behind California and Hawaii, for the most solar installations. The legacy of Allen working on this matter is that Delaware has one of the best policy frameworks for development of alternative energy. It has also made UD the U.S. Department of Energy’s national Center of Excellence for Solar Energy.