Solar Energy Technologies Office Director
You are here
Dr. Charlie Gay is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office. In this position, he leads a team that is dedicated to early-stage research and development of solar technologies, with a focus on how they contribute to supporting the reliability, resilience, and security of the U.S. electric grid.
Charlie is an internationally recognized pioneer in photovoltaics. After starting his career in 1975 designing solar power system components for communications satellites at Spectrolab, Inc, he later joined ARCO Solar, where he established the research and development program and led the commercialization of crystalline silicon and thin film technologies.
In 1990, he became president and chief operating officer of Siemens Solar Industries, and from 1994 to 1997, he served as director of DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In 1997, he was named president and chief executive officer of ASE Americas, Inc., and from 2001 to 2005 served as founding chairman of the technical advisory board at SunPower Corporation. He joined Applied Materials in 2006 as corporate vice president and general manager of the Solar Business Group. He served as president of Applied Solar and chairman of the Applied Solar Council from 2009-2013. As president, Charlie was responsible for positioning applied materials and its solar efforts with important stakeholders in the energy industry, technical community and governments around the world.
He earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside and was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2013. He established the Greenstar Foundation in 1997 to demonstrate an economically sustainable model that delivers solar power and internet access for health, education and microenterprise projects to developing world villages.
Total Eclipse of the Sun: How Will Changing Solar Power Output Impact the Grid?
While only lasting about two minutes in each location, the eclipse will dramatically decrease output of photovoltaic power plants across the U.S.
August 14, 2017Learn More
4 Unusual Uses of Solar Power
As costs drop and energy production rises, solar technologies will be put to more work. Here are 4 unusual uses for solar power today.
August 9, 2017Learn More
Hail No! National Lab's Solar Panels Survive Severe Storm
May 15, 2017
A severe hailstorm pelted the Denver area on May 8, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. But, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's...Learn More
Solar Jobs: State of the States
April 26, 2017
A breakdown of the data released by The Solar Foundation shows where solar jobs are located and which parts of the value chain are seeing the most...Learn More
On Display: Smithsonian Shares the History of Solar
March 1, 2017
The addition of a record-setting 14.6 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy onto the grid made 2016 a historic year for solar, with a total of more than...Learn More
Let it Snow: How Solar Panels Can Thrive in Winter Weather
January 5, 2017
Winter is here and many parts of the country have already seen snow. Although at first blush it may seem that solar power is ideal for the summer,...Learn More
Making Our Solar Future with American Manufacturing
October 7, 2016
Every second that ticks by, six solar cells come off U.S. manufacturing lines that contain crystalline silicon. In 10 years, the Energy Department...Learn More
Revolution...Now Rewind: Modernizing the Grid to Accelerate a Solar-Powered Future
October 4, 2016
As the recently released Revolution..Now report details, the declining cost of solar power has enabled a massive increase in the amount of solar...Learn More