Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus, Director
Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). SETO has an annual budget of $280 million to support early-stage research and development projects to advance photovoltaic and concentrating solar-thermal power technology, improve solar’s ability to support the reliability and resilience of the electric grid, and provide technical information to support decision-makers. Dr. Jones-Albertus also works with DOE leadership on key cross-cutting issues such as grid modernization, systems integration, and workforce training.
Dr. Jones-Albertus has spent her career advancing solar technology, from fundamental research and development to manufacturing. Her research roles have spanned academia, industry, and the national labs. She has been at SETO since 2013, serving first as the photovoltaics program manager and then as SETO’s deputy director. Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Dr. Jones-Albertus worked at Solar Junction, where she led efforts to develop solar cells that twice achieved world-record efficiencies, and then transitioned the technology to manufacturing.
Dr. Jones-Albertus graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a B.S. in electrical engineering and holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where she co-founded an organization dedicated to improving environmental sustainability on campus. She has more than 10 patents and 40 technical publications.
Garrett Nilsen, Deputy Director
Garrett Nilsen is the deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, which advances research and development in solar energy technologies. Garrett has managed over a hundred research and development projects covering all technology spaces in the office. Multiple technologies from projects he managed are now actively used in the solar energy industry. In addition, Garrett has been involved in the development of prize programming, technical assistance efforts, and data analysis. Garrett specializes in the transition of research and knowledge to stakeholders across the solar energy industry.
Garrett joined the office in 2012, and has had led both the Manufacturing and Competitiveness team and the Balance of Systems Soft Costs team. He has worked with businesses of all sizes focusing on the development of innovative products and manufacturing technologies to help drive down costs and increase the deployment of solar energy. He has helped innovators in the solar energy space de-risk their research, products and processes to make them attractive to private investment along with helping them access the resources and develop the skills needed to make an impact on solar energy.
He has also worked on the other side of government contracting—from 2007-2009, he worked as an optical engineer for Technologies Solutions and Invention, a small business in Connecticut that was an awardee on government contracts to develop optics-based devices for various government customers.
Garrett has a B.S. in physics from Union College in New York and an M.S. in solar energy engineering from Hogskolan Dalarna (Dalarna University) in Sweden.
Dr. Paul Basore, Chief Scientist
Dr. Paul Basore is the chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). In this role, he provides guidance for strategic planning, program evaluation, techno-economic analysis, and scientific methodology. His four decades in solar power technology span industrial, academic, and government positions on three continents, including positions within DOE's National Laboratory solar programs at Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and a previous role in SETO. Since assuming his current position in January 2021, he has been stationed in San Diego, California.
After receiving a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in energy storage technology to support solar power, Paul focused his attention on crystalline-silicon photovoltaics (PV). He led the development of PC1D, a program for personal computers to simulate the internal operation of silicon solar cells, which became the most widely-cited PV cell simulation program for more than 25 years. He then developed a method for extracting the internal electrical and optical properties of solar cells from their response to monochromatic light of varying wavelength. He subsequently led the scale-up of a thin-film crystalline-silicon PV technology from laboratory to commercial production and led the advanced research and development labs in two tier-one silicon module manufacturing companies. Nine U.S.-issued patents list him as the inventor. Paul has published papers in forward-looking techno-economic analysis and the future evolution of PV manufacturing. He chaired the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference in 1997 and received the outstanding paper award for silicon PV in 2003.
DR. MARKUS BECK, MANUFACTURING AND COMPETITIVENESS PROGRAM MANAGER
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.
Michele Boyd, Strategic Analysis and Institutional Support Program Manager
Michele Boyd is the program manager of the soft costs/balance of systems team in the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). The team supports the development of analysis, tools, and data resources to reduce the non-hardware (soft costs) of solar energy and accelerates learning through technical assistance programs and national partnerships. Michele joined SETO in April 2016 as a technology manager on both the soft costs and the technology to market teams. Previously, Michele was the government relations manager at Abengoa Solar, where she developed and implemented strategies to advance effective financing, siting, and transmission policies for solar. Prior to her work on solar, Michele focused on environmental and policy issues related to nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and nuclear waste at Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
Michele has two Bachelors of Science degrees in biology and environmental science from Purdue University and a Master’s of Science in environmental policy from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Avi Shultz, Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power Program Manager
Dr. Avi Shultz is the program manager for concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), which supports research, development, and demonstration of solar-thermal components and systems that can enable wide-spread deployment of low-cost CSP with thermal energy storage. Dr. Shultz has been with SETO since 2013, where he started as a science and technology policy fellow, supporting the CSP program on a wide variety of topics.
Prior to joining SETO, Dr. Shultz was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Amsterdam, after getting his Bachelors and Doctoral degrees in Chemistry, from Columbia University and Northwestern University, respectively.
Nicole Steele, Senior Advisor for Equity and Workforce
Nicole Steele joined the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office in January 2021 as a senior advisor for equity and workforce issues and leads the National Community Solar Partnership. She is a nationally recognized leader and expert in clean energy with a focus on frontline communities and workforce development. She has 20 years of experience working with government officials, policymakers, advocates, and entrepreneurs to develop and implement inclusive clean energy policies and programs. Nicole was the founding executive director of GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic, policy director at the Alliance to Save Energy, and ran the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program for Loudoun County, Virginia. She started her career in affordable housing, community planning, and politics. She is an AmeriCorps alumni and passionate supporter of community service.
Dr. Lenny Tinker, Photovoltaics Program Manager
Dr. Lenny Tinker is the program manager for the photovoltaics team. He has been at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) since September 2011 and started as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow on the Photovoltaics team working on Incubator Round 6. He now manages early-stage applied research and development programs at national labs, universities, and companies to develop advanced photovoltaic systems. Dr. Tinker is also the SETO representative on the IEA PVPS Executive Committee.
Prior to his position in the Energy Department, Dr. Tinker was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, Germany, where he designed inorganic complexes to be used in organic light emitting diodes and to promote triplet-triplet upconversion processes. Dr. Tinker obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University and a B.S. from Beloit College. His Ph.D. research focused on visible light-induced water reduction using iridium (III) chromophores and colloidal catalysts to produce a portable fuel using sunlight.
Dr. Guohui Yuan, Systems Integration Program Manager
Dr. Guohui Yuan is the program manager for the systems integration (SI) subprogram. His team supports research, development, and demonstration of technologies and solutions to enable the widespread deployment of solar energy on the nation’s electricity grid.
Dr. Yuan has been supporting SETO as a technical advisor since 2011. Previously, he held several key positions at industry-leading clean technology startups, including CURRENT Group, GridPoint, and WaveCrest Labs. Early in his career, he worked at COMSAT Labs as a systems scientist. He is a recognized thought leader and has many technical publications. He holds nine patents.
Dr. Yuan holds a B.S. degree from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park, both in physics.