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Falling Walls Circle – Plenary Table: Driving the Solar Energy Transition: Building a more Resilient and Secure Energy Supply Chain

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), Falling Walls Foundation | Walburga Hemetsberger, Seth Marder, Daniel Menzel, Rutger Schlatmann, Jennifer Porto

The urgency to tackle the climate crisis and achieve sustainable growth is adding to the momentum of the global energy transformation. Solar Photovoltaics (PV) undoubtedly has the potential to overcome the energy trilemma of energy security, affordability, and sustainability. This panel discussion will explore how a diverse solar PV industry can effectively mitigate technology development risks and overcome potential barriers to its competitiveness in the future.

Supported by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Walburga Hemetsberger

SolarPower Europe

Walburga Hemetsberger is the CEO of SolarPower Europe since 2019.
She has over 20 years of professional experience in Brussels, working for a utility, trade association, the European Parliament and the European Commission. Walburga spent most of her career in the energy sector, covering in particular renewable energies and hydrogen.

Seth Marder

University of Colorado Boulder and NREL

Seth Marder is the Director of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, which is joint between the University of Colorado-Boulder and the NREL. At CU Marder is also a professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Chemistry, and a Fellow of the Materials Science and Engineering Program at CU-Boulder. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at NREL. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Optical Society of America, SPIE, the Royal Society of Chemistry the American Physical Society, the Materials Research Society, and the National Academy of Inventors and a Member of the World Cultural Council.

Daniel Menzel

Meyer Burger

Daniel Menzel is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Swiss-German solar cell and module maker Meyer Burger and a Member of the Management Board. Daniel has a versatile background having studied Business Law and Administration plus Mechanical Engineering & Technical Building Equipment. Throughout his career and with 15 years of solar experience he has been responsible for purchasing, sales and marketing in various organizations. This made him a perfect candidate to take over responsibility for Meyer Burger’s operational parts in 2021 when the company started to construct a brand new cell factory in the city of Bitterfeld-Wolfen (1 hour from Berlin) and a solar module factory in the city of Freiberg, close to Dresden. In 2022, Meyer Burger started operations in the US and is currently building a module factory in Arizona and a cell factory in Colorado. Daniel Menzel is heading the US operations and responsible for the company´s move to the US.

Daniel is committed to the renaissance of the solar industry in the western world and a strong believer in the need for resilience in the energy sector.

Rutger Schlatmann

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

Rutger Schlatmann heads the Solar Energy Division at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and founding director of its technology transfer institute PVcomB. He is full professor for solar technology at the HTW Berlin. The Dutch physicist worked as staff scientist at Akzo Nobel and R&D manager for solar cell company HyET Solar, a joint venture between Akzo Nobel and Shell Solar before being sold to Vattenfall/Nuon.
Since 2022, he is also Chairman of the European Technology and Innovation Platform Photovoltaics, an advisory committee to the European Commission, of which he has been a member since 2014.

Jennifer Porto was born and raised in Iowa, and holds degrees in music performance from Iowa State University and the Cleveland Institute of Music. She was a Fulbright recipient at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, Germany, and joined the soloist ensemble of the Oper Leipzig after completing her formal education, and was an avid performer of contemporary music. She co-founded a performance ensemble whose focus was cross-cultural engagement, and created a series of one-woman performances that were met with enthusiastic audience response. She pivoted to the field of higher education, teaching university-level courses for CIEE (the Council on International Educational Exchange) in Berlin, and is an experienced moderator in fields including sustainability, entrepreneurship, culture, and education. Jennifer is a member of the administration at New York University in Berlin, where she oversees a variety of programs as the Arts Coordinator.


About the Venue
Radialsystem – Lecture Hall
Holzmarktstraße 33
Berlin, 10243 Germany

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