- Eicke Weber, the head of Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE is set to retire at the end of 2016
- Under his lead, the operating budget of Fraunhofer ISE from self-acquired projects grew from €25 million to €73 million by 2015.
- Since 2006 Weber doubled ISE's manpower to 1,100 today
One of the world’s leader solar research institutes, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), is about to lose its Director Professor Eicke R. Weber. He will retire from his current position at the end of this year after serving the institute for 10 years starting from 2006.
Weber has played a key role in the advancement of global solar research. One of the authorities in the field, his contributions made Fraunhofer ISE the ‘second largest’ institute in the Fraunhofer group of research centers. Since 2006 Weber doubled ISE’s manpower to 1,100 today. Under his lead, the operating budget of the institute from self-acquired projects grew from €25 million to €73 million by 2015.
At a scientific symposium on the global energy transformation, the institute listed Weber’s achievements while at the helm of affairs at the institute. Under his charge, Fraunhofer ISE set up research facilities in Halle, Boston and Santiago de Chile. He was instrumental in bringing the Intersolar trade fair in 2008 to San Francisco and has served as the chairman of the accompanying conference since then. His efforts also paid off in the establishment of the Global Alliance for Solar Energy Research Institutes. This alliance is aiming to push PV into the TW range.
Under his term, eight start-ups were founded from Fraunhofer ISE, including NexWafe, Blue Inductive and Vallis Solaris Project.
Weber is also the President of the Alliance for European Renewable Energy Research Centres EUREC and founded the European Innovation Council (EIC) and Vice President of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES)
Weber is a strong proponent of storage technology and helped establish the Bundesverband Energiespeicher BVES (German Federal Association of Energy Storage). He drives a fuel cell car that runs on hydrogen. His networking skills helped the launch of a ‘Master Online Photovoltaics’ class in cooperation with the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Freiburg. He is also a Professor of Physics/Solar energy on the faculty of Mathematics and Physics as well as the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Freiburg.
Weber, born 1949 in Muennerstadt, Germany, received his qualification as professor of physics in 1983 from the University of Cologne. After working as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley for 20 years, he returned to Germany in 2006 to assume the position of Institute Director of Fraunhofer ISE. In 2006 he also co-founded the start-up CaliSolar that received total investments of over $200 million. Today as Silicor and located in Iceland, the company produces upgraded metallurgical silicon (umg-Si) for the PV industry.
There is no official successor named so far. But according to ISE two heads will lead the institute in the future.