The Manufacturing and Competitiveness team—formerly known as “Technology to Market”—works with private companies to investigate and validate groundbreaking, early-stage solar technology. The goal is to strengthen innovative concepts and move them toward readiness for greater private sector investment and scale-up to commercialization. Manufacturing and Competitiveness, in close collaboration with the office’s other teams, also manages several prize programs, which leverage American innovation and competitive spirit to advance new ideas in solar energy.

DR. MARKUS BECK, MANUFACTURING AND COMPETITIVENESS PROGRAM MANAGER

Markus Beck SETO portrait

Dr. Markus Beck joined the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in March, 2021, as the program manager for the Manufacturing and Competitiveness team. Markus and the Manufacturing and Competitiveness team assist businesses of all sizes with their U.S.-manufactured technologies and innovation in order to help drive down costs and increase the deployment of solar energy on the nation’s grid.

Markus is an innovator and strategist with over 20 years of senior and executive R&D, project & operations management expertise in the renewable energy industry and has been recognized as one of the top thin-film photovoltaic (PV) technologists in the world. Dr. Beck’s career in PV spans three decades and he helped build the U.S. PV manufacturing industry in his roles as chief technology officer (CTO) at Violet Power, CTO at Siva Power, chief technologist at First Solar, CTO at Solyndra, and senior scientist at Global Solar Energy. He also served as vice president of the PV Development Team at Samsung. In addition to his industry tenure, Dr. Beck held a research sabbatical at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as well as a research scientist position at the Hahn-Meitner Institute and a postdoctoral fellowship at NREL. He has advised global companies in the renewable energy sector on technology and business related aspects and sees significant synergies between the proliferation of renewable energy, hydrogen and battery storage, intelligent energy network interactions through advanced software integration, transformation of the transportation sector to battery and fuel cell based electric vehicles, and energy efficient construction in creating greater value for society.

Dr. Beck holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Guelph and has been awarded over a dozen scholarships and awards in the field of PV research and manufacturing. He is the primary inventor on 22 patents. As a subject-matter expert of American National Standards U.S. Technical Advisory Groups and the International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee 82 Working Group 2, he is actively engaged in global PV-standards activities. Dr. Beck has served on numerous Energy Department PV review boards and chaired the IEEE Santa Clara Valley PV Chapter from 2013–2015. He is a subject-matter expert for the peer-reviewed journals ‘Thin Solid Films’ and ‘Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells,’ and in 2012 was appointed to the editorial board of the latter.

FANIA BARWICK

Fania Barwick SETO Portrait

Fania Barwick is a technical project officer for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) and is located in Golden, Colorado. Fania is involved in all stages of financial assistance process including drafting of funding opportunity announcements, application review, selection, negotiation, award issuance, monitoring, project management, and close-out. Fania joined the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in 2009 and worked as a grants management specialist supporting SETO within the Financial Assistance Office until early 2020.

Fania studied at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she earned a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning, and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Environmental Thought and Practice. Fania’s studies focused on green urbanism, food systems planning, and sustainability in urban design.

Kyle Fricker

Kyle Fricker Headshot

Dr. Kyle Fricker is a technology manager working with the Manufacturing and Competitiveness team. His portfolio includes projects that support entrepreneurs developing new solar products and programs that strengthen innovation ecosystems to accelerate the commercialization of early-stage energy technologies. He also leads programs that seek to test, validate, and scale new approaches to expand affordable solar access to previously underserved populations.

Prior to SETO, Kyle co-founded Divvy Power LLC ("Divvy"), an online platform for crowdsourcing capital and facilitating development of community clean energy projects. Under his leadership, Divvy completed two pilot projects for off-grid solar systems at a school and community garden in the Bronx, NY.

Kyle holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from University of Florida and a Ph.D. in earth and environmental engineering from Columbia University, where he researched a mineral-based chemical process for carbon dioxide capture and storage. During his graduate studies, Kyle also assessed the commercial viability of physical science inventions disclosed by physical science and engineering labs across the university as a Columbia Technology Ventures fellow. In his free time, he enjoys snowboarding, hiking, and cheering for DC United. He is originally from Cocoa Beach, FL.

Daniel Inns

Daniel Inns SETO Portrati

Company: Boston Government Services

Dr. Daniel Inns joined SETO in April 2022  as a technology manager on the Manufacturing and Competitiveness team. His project portfolio focuses on solar cell and module technology, and associated manufacturing and measurement equipment. Daniel is also the office’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR-STTR) portfolio manager.

Daniel came to SETO with almost 20 years of industrial experience in electronics. This includes over 10 years in solar cell R&D in addition to product management in circuit boards, semiconductor process engineering, and applications development for printed electronics.

Daniel’s education was focused on silicon solar cells, with bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from the School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering (UNSW, Sydney, Australia). He has more than 40 scientific publications and over 20 patents to his name.

PETER LOBACCARO

Peter Lobaccaro Portrait

Company: Alleghany Science & Technology

Dr. Peter Lobaccaro joined SETO in November 2018 as an ORISE Science and Technology Policy Fellow before transferring to a program analyst in 2020. He supports a variety of programs, including leading the development of the American-Made Solar Prize and American-Made Network, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, the Technology Commercialization Fund, and SETO’s annual Funding Opportunity Announcements, focusing on SETO’s awards with small-business and later-stage technology development. He is passionate about developing a strong pipeline to transition research developments in the lab to impact the commercial solar industry and developing a support ecosystem for the entrepreneurs walking that path.

Prior to joining SETO, Peter had a post-doctoral fellowship at the Singapore-Berkeley Research Initiative for Sustainable Energy based at the National University of Singapore where he worked on developing novel catalysts for the conversion of CO2 to value added chemicals. He received his Ph.D. in 2016 in chemical engineering from the University of California Berkeley, where he focused his research on solar fuels and thin film III-V solar materials. He received his B.S. in 2011 from the University of Notre Dame in chemical engineering.

ROBERT MEAGLEY

Robert Meagley SETO Portrait

Company: Boston Government Services

Robert Meagley joined the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in June 2020 as a technology manager on the Manufacturing and Competitiveness team. His portfolio focuses on commercialization projects that integrate advanced materials and manufacturing processes, and projects that integrate solar into emerging applications to help make solar more resilient, accessible, and affordable.

Prior to joining SETO, Robert co-founded a micro-RFID start-up, founded an advanced materials start-up, and was a principle in a thin film silicon solar startup, after leading Intel Corp.'s Molecules for Advanced Patterning Program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) from 2004-2007. Before LBNL, Robert was the manager of Intel Corp.'s Lithography Materials Group, a corporate patent and external programs mentor, and worked with nanotechnology related environment, safety, and health programs. Before graduate school, he worked as a synthetic chemist at DuPont Central Research and Johnson Matthey Biomedical.

Robert's postdoctoral research at Cornell and U.C. Berkeley collaborated with IBM, Almaden, and International Sematech, following his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware and B.S. from the University of Maryland. He was awarded the University of Delaware Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement in September 2005, as well as Intel corporate awards for innovation, environmental excellence, quality, cost savings, and engineering. Robert holds 45 U.S. patents, has authored nearly as many technical papers, and lectures and volunteers as a senior research fellow with Foresight Institute. His interests include light-matter interactions, interfacial engineering, self-assembly phenomena, graphic art, and bicycling.

George Stefopoulos

George Stefopoulos Portrait

Company: Boston Government Services

Dr. George Stefopoulos is a Solar Innovation Technical Advisor for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). He joined SETO in September 2021 and works with the Manufacturing and Competitiveness team.

Prior to joining SETO, George was with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for over 12 years. He joined NYPA in 2009 as a Research and Technology Development Engineer investigating innovative approaches for improving the performance and reliability of NYPA’s transmission and generation facilities. He worked very closely with academic and other research institutions as well as various equipment vendors and technology providers participating in a variety of internally- and externally-funded R&D projects. From 2015 to 2018, he served as NYPA’s Smart Grid Solution Architect, leading the company’s smart grid group and engaging in the deployment of new technologies to modernize NYPA’s transmission grid and generating facilities. From 2018 to 2021, he was the first Director of NYPA’s Advanced Grid Innovation Laboratory for Energy (AGILe), a newly created research, development, and testing facility aimed at developing new technologies and demonstrating future-thinking electric power grid projects in collaboration with a variety of research partners and technology providers. Besides being responsible for the lab operations and business development, his research work focused on grid modeling and real-time digital simulation, software/hardware-in-the-loop testing, grid automation, protection and control applications, renewable energy integration, and power system communications and cyber security.

George received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009. His research focused on electric power system modeling and simulation with applications to voltage recovery and optimization of reactive power support. During his Ph.D. he was awarded three best paper awards for his work at three different conferences. He also received his M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2002 from Georgia Tech and his Diploma in the same field from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, in 2001. George also holds a MBA degree from Pace University of New York – Lubin School of Business since 2015.

Dr. Stefopoulos is author or co-author of over 60 scientific papers and articles and has presented his works at many international scientific conferences. He has also delivered several invited talks at a variety of meetings and other events. George is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a member of the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET), a member of the Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Electrical Engineering Honor Society, and a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society of Business Programs. He serves as a reviewer for a number of scientific journals and as a technical committee program chair (TCPC) of the Power System Dynamic Performance Committee of the IEEE Power and Energy Society. George is a registered professional engineer in Greece and a member of the Technical Chamber of Greece. In 2018 he was awarded the outstanding service to the profession award by the Westchester/Putman chapter of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers.

George’s interests include science and technology, cooking, hiking, bicycling, and traveling (he has visited all 50 US states, most Canadian provinces and territories, and several other countries overseas).

David Ung

David Ung Headshot

ORISE Science and Technology Policy Fellow

Dr. David Ung is an ORISE Science and Technology Policy Fellow for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). He joined SETO in January 2021 and works on the Manufacturing and Competitiveness team.

Prior to joining SETO, David received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Washington in 2020. His research focused on developing electrocatalytic nanomaterials for hydrogen evolution. While pursuing this degree, he had the opportunity to work as a technical advisor for a group of angel investors, which sparked his interest in working with cleantech startups. He was also able to participate in science communication by volunteering at local science centers to teach the broader public about clean energy. He received his B.S. in chemistry in 2014 from the University of California San Diego, where he studied molecular electrocatalysts for carbon dioxide reduction.