Newswise — The announcement was made by Robert Birkmire, director of UD's Institute of Energy Conversion, who is the executive director of the Karl W. Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit Trust, and Monica V. Oliphant, president of the International Solar Energy Society and vice chairperson of the award committee.

The medal, which carries a cash award of $50,000, is bestowed biennially upon an individual who has made significant pioneering contributions to the promotion of solar energy as an alternate source of energy through research, development or economic enterprise, or to an individual who has made extraordinarily valuable and enduring contributions to the field of solar energy in other ways.

Funded by an endowment, the award is given in honor of Karl Wolfgang Böer, UD Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics and Solar Energy and founder of the Institute for Energy Conversion. A pioneer in the field of solar energy, Böer holds 28 patents and was one of the first 37 fellows of the American Solar Energy Society, among numerous other honors.

The award committee for the 2009 medal is composed of the presidents of the International Solar Energy Society, American Solar Energy Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Physical Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineering and Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; the director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; the U.S. Secretary of Energy; a representative of the Böer family; and the executive director of the trust.

The formal announcement and nominating form are available online at

The first Karl W. Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit was presented in 1993 to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who was cited as "the one individual who, more than anyone else, spurred development and focused world attention on the relatively unknown technology for safe and environmentally sound energy production from the sun."

The most recent awardee, in 2007, was Lawrence Kazmerski, director of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Center for Photovoltaics at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, who was honored for his pioneering contributions to advance and promote the global use of solar energy.

Other recipients of the Böer medal include the following:

* 1995, David E. Carlson, vice president of the Thin Film Division of Solarex, an AMOCO subsidiary; * 1997, Adolf Goetzberger, founder of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems; * 1999, Stanford R. Ovshinsky, a pioneer in the science of amorphous semiconductors resulting in the development of low-cost, thin-film silicon solar cells; * 2001, Allen M. Barnett, a pioneer in high-performance, thin-crystalline silicon solar cells and UD professor of electrical and computer engineering; * 2003, Martin A. Green, Inaugural Scientia Professor at the Centre for Photovoltaic Engineering in Sydney, Australia, and foundation director for the Centre for Third Generation University of New South Wales in Sydney; and * 2005, Yoshihiro Hamakawa, adviser professor to the chancellor at Ritsumeikan University in Shiga, Japan, and a prominent scholar in the field of solar photovoltaic energy.

Image of the medal is available.