Pioneer Honored: Solar Luminary Bags Renewable Energy Award

Martin Green, a pioneering figure in solar technology, clinches the 2023 Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy. Known as the
Martin Green
Martin GreenImage Source: Create Digital


Martin Green, a pioneering figure in solar technology, clinches the 2023 Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy. Known as the "father of modern photovoltaics," his groundbreaking work in silicon solar cells, particularly the PERC technology, has revolutionized solar energy generation, significantly increasing efficiency and reducing costs globally.



Martin Green, renowned as the "father of modern photovoltaics," has been awarded the 2023 Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy by the University of Louisville. His outstanding contributions and innovations in solar cell technology, particularly the passivated emitter and rear contact (PERC) solar cell, have garnered global recognition for their transformative impact on renewable energy.

The PERC technology, a brainchild of Professor Green, marked a revolutionary leap in enhancing the efficiency of standard silicon solar cells. By refining both the top and rear surfaces of these cells, it significantly amplified electricity generation from sunlight, fostering widespread adoption of sustainable solar energy while reducing production costs.

Green's pioneering efforts propelled a staggering 50% increase in the conversion efficiency of standard solar cells over several decades, an achievement that established his team's dominance in silicon cell efficiency for a significant period. Presently, PERC and Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact (TOPCon) cells, stemming from Green's research at UNSW, comprise over 90% of global solar cell manufacturing, surpassing $100 billion USD in sales.

Beyond technological advancements, Green's impact extends to training and inspiring future generations of solar energy pioneers, empowering them to establish solar cell manufacturing in Asia. His achievements not only reflect efficiency improvements but also represent a significant share of global manufacturing capacity.

Professor Green expressed his joy at receiving the Leigh Ann Conn Prize, stating, "I was determined to make a difference, and through collective efforts, we've made low-cost solar a reality, combating climate change and revolutionizing energy generation."

UNSW's acting Vice-Chancellor and President Professor George Williams applauded Green's accomplishment, acknowledging his pivotal role in advancing solar technology globally.

In March 2024, Green will deliver a public lecture in Louisville, sharing insights into his groundbreaking work. The award ceremony will honor his achievements with the Conn Prize medal and a $50,000 award.

University of Louisville President Kim Schatzel praised Green as a trailblazer in photovoltaics, emphasizing the global significance of his solar cell technology.

The Leigh Ann Conn Prize celebrates scientists, honoring their resilience and commitment to renewable energy innovation. Nominations for the 2025 competition close on December 31, 2024, inviting visionary contributions in renewable energy technology.


Professor Martin Green's acknowledgment with the Leigh Ann Conn Prize reaffirms his status as a trailblazing figure in the solar energy landscape. His pioneering advancements in solar cell technology not only signify a monumental leap in efficiency but also underscore the transformative potential of renewable energy in combating climate change on a global scale.

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