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Meet Our Scientists
Meet Suniva's Scientists
Ajeet Rohatgi, Ph.D.
Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi is a Regents’ Professor and a John H. Weitnauer, Jr. Chair in the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He joined Georgia Tech’s ECE faculty in 1985 and is regarded as one of the world’s leading research scientists in photovoltaic (PV) technology. Dr. Rohatgi is also a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, the founding director of the University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaic Research and Education (UCEP, where Suniva got its start) and the founder and CTO of Suniva®, Inc.
Dr. Rohatgi has positioned Suniva as a U.S. leader in the research, development and manufacturing of high-efficiency, low-cost crystalline silicon cells using unique technology that evolved from his work at UCEP. Dr. Rohatgi continues his research on the development of low-cost high-efficiency cells, innovative cell designs, and cost and technology roadmaps for attaining grid parity with silicon PV.
Under Dr. Rohatgi’s leadership, Suniva has accomplished several industry firsts and achievements, including the fastest ramp-up to 100MW production in the industry (and current expansion to 170MW); the raising of $270 million in capital since Suniva’s inception; the successful production of cell efficiencies exceeding 19%, and R&D cell efficiencies exceeding 20%.
Honored as an IEEE Fellow, Dr. Rohatgi has published more than 400 technical papers in the PV field and has been awarded 16 patents. Dr. Rohatgi is recognized globally for his research and development contributions:
- Georgia Tech Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award by the School of ECE, 2012
- Georgia Tech 2010 Outstanding Achievement in Research Innovation Award
- Leadership in Technology Award by Renewable Energy World for achievements in advancing the market for renewable energy in North America, 2010
- Named “Champions of Photovoltaics” by Photovoltaic World – The Magazine for Solar Power by Renewable Energy World Network, 2010
- Excellence in Renewable Energy Award for Industry Leadership, 2010
- Hoyt Clarke Hottel Award by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) for outstanding educator and innovator in the field of photovoltaics, 2009
- “Envention Award” by Atlanta Business Chronicle for conservation and pollution-curbing efforts, 2009
- Thought Leadership Award finalist, Aspen Institute’s 2009 Energy & Environment, 2009
- Climate Protection Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for dedication and technical innovation in PV, 2009
- One of the Five Most Influential People in Renewable Energy by Power Finance & Risk Magazine, 2008
- Georgia Institute of Technology Outstanding Research Program Development Award, 2007
- William Cherry Award by the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, 2003
- Rappaport Award by the U.S. Department of Energy/NREL, 2003
- Georgia Tech Distinguished Professor Award, 1996
- Georgia Tech Commencement Speaker, 1996
- IEEE Fellow
- Westinghouse Engineering Achievement Award, 1984
Dr. Rohatgi received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1971, and a M.S. degree in Materials Engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA in 1973. He received a Ph.D. in Metallurgy and Material Science from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, in 1977.
Prior to joining the Electrical Engineering faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Rohatgi was at the Westinghouse Research and Development Center in Pittsburgh, PA in 1977 and became a Westinghouse Fellow while working on the science and technology of photovoltaic and microelectronic devices.
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James M. Modak
Chief Financial Officer
Jim Modak is an experienced financial executive with more than 30 years experience in high growth businesses. His career has included three public offerings, four sell-side M&A transactions and more than 50 buy-side M&A transactions.
As CFO of Suniva, Jim assisted in raising $130 million in capital and led the debt financing for the company's manufacturing equipment. Jim continually focuses on efforts of constant improvement for operational cost efficiencies throughout Suniva. These efforts were recognized by The Wall Street Journal's Next Big Thing survey, which ranked Suniva #2 in the 2010 Top 10 Venture-Backed, Clean Technology Companies. In addition, Jim manages the human resources aspects of Suniva, which has seen steady growth since the company was founded in 2007.
In March 2010, Suniva received the Renewable Energy Exporter of the Year by the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Jim presented at EX-IM Bank's annual conference, where President Obama addressed attendees and announced his export initiative.
Before joining Suniva, Jim was the CFO of Datapath, a $300 million company providing mobile satellite communications. While at Datapath he led the company's private placement of $350 million in 2006. His career has included COO and CFO roles at companies such as DWL, a private enterprise software company which was grown from $5 million in revenues to over $35 million in four years, ultimately leading to the sale of the company to IBM.
Additionally, Jim was the CFO at Tradex Technologies where he helped build the business into one of the leaders in developing digital marketplaces. Jim and the executive team ultimately sold the company to Ariba in one of the largest software M&A transactions at the time of $5.6 billion.
He has held senior financial executive positions at such companies as Total System Services-NYSE, American Software and Logility-NASDAQ and FFMC-NYSE (sold to First Data in 1995). In addition to public financing experience, Jim has significant operational and business development experience.
Jim began his career with KPMG Peat Marwick where he spent 12 years after graduating from the University of Notre Dame. He currently serves on the Library Council of Notre Dame.
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Atul Gupta, Ph.D.
Director, Product Development/R&D
Dr. Atul Gupta is Suniva’s Director of Product & Research Development. His primary responsibilities include the development and execution of Suniva’s product development roadmap through adoption of innovative technologies that enable higher performance at a lower cost. Additionally, Atul manages Suniva’s extensive intellectual property (IP) strategy.
Atul has over 15 years of research and product development experience with a unique multi-disciplinary background in Chemical engineering, Electronic materials and Electrical engineering. He holds two masters and a Ph.D. degree in these fields. Atul previously worked at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates (VSEA, recently acquired by Applied Materials) where he was the chief scientist, and responsible for enabling the adoption of ion implantation into solar; he worked jointly with Suniva and Georgia Institute of Technology on this effort. Atul has several publications (more recently in the field of solar cell manufacturing) and holds 18 issued patents in the field of semiconductor and solar cell manufacturing with numerous other applications pending at the USPTO.- Close
Adam M. Payne, Ph.D
As a Senior Scientist at Suniva, Adam is responsible for the development of n-type solar cells. Since joining Suniva in 2008, Adam has been instrumental in overseeing the construction and implementation of the Development Laboratory and has served as liaison for joint research projects with Georgia Tech's University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaic Research and Education (UCEP). He also works closely with Suniva's manufacturing team on optimizing the refractive index of the anti-reflection coating of Suniva's solar cells.
Prior to his role at Suniva, Adam was a research scientist at Georgia Tech from 2003 until 2005 where he worked on GaN-based light emitting diodes and the use of InGaN as a photovoltaic material. During 1999 - 2002, Adam worked at Aegis Semiconductor, a start-up company which produces tunable thin film filters for the optical communications market. He has published 10 papers on photovoltaics and holds four U.S. patents.
Adam received his B.S. from Yale University in applied physics. He spent an additional year at the University of Cambridge, where he read for an M.Phil in microelectronic engineering and semiconductor physics. Adam received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in electrical engineering. His doctoral thesis researched amorphous silicon-germanium alloys for solar cells, as well as using dicholorosilane as an alternative source gas for a-Si:H. While affiliated with the Princeton Environmental Institute (1997-2002), Adam worked on estimating the long-term costs of solar cells as well as analyzing the impact of net metering on the geographic distribution of photovoltaics in the U.S. After receiving his Ph.D., Adam was an STA International Research Fellow at the Electrotechnical Laboratory in Tsukuba, Japan, where he worked on plasma-enhanced CVD of a-Si:H.- Close
Vijay Yelundur, Ph.D.
Dr. Vijay Yelundur is a Senior Engineer in Suniva's Research and Development. His current area of research is the design, fabrication and characterization of high-efficiency solar cells on Czochralski silicon wafers. Vijay is further instrumental in the development of 20%-efficiency cells as part of Suniva's technology roadmap.
Vijay comes to Suniva from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering. Vijay also worked with Suniva Founder and CTO, Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi, at Georgia Tech's University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaic Research and Education (UCEP). At UCEP, Vijay was a Senior Research Engineer, working on the optimization of silicon solar cell performance via rapid thermal processing, among other research projects. He is the author of more than 30 papers in crystalline silicon photovoltaics.
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Vinodh Chandrasekaran, M.S.
As a senior engineer in Research and Development at Suniva, Vinodh is primarily responsible for development of contacts to advanced cell structures. He also focuses on improved surface passivation and development of high-efficiency n-type cells. Vinodh has been instrumental in the development and transfer of technology from the lab, achieving the fastest ramp-up in solar manufacturing with cell efficiency levels of more than 18% in production and 20% in the development lab.
Prior to joining Suniva, Vinodh was with Solar Power Industries (SPI), where he worked on the development and manufacturing of multicrystalline silicon solar cells. His main focus was on process development and optimization, along with diagnosis and characterization. Before his work as a cell processing engineer, Vinodh was responsible for bringing the wire saw process into the production of wafers from ingots cast in-house at SPI. He was also involved in the production of multicrystalline ingot growth.
Vinodh received his MSEE from the University of South Florida, specializing in thin film photovoltaics. His thesis focus was on improving performance and development of manufacture-friendly processes for thin film CIGS solar cells. Vinodh received his B.E. in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the University of Madras, India.
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Sheri Wang, Ph.D.
Sheri joined the research and development lab at Suniva in June 2010, where she is responsible for the development of next generation high efficiency and low cost solar cells primarily on n-type silicon. Sheri focuses on cell processing and characterization, and has been instrumental in developing wet chemistry for achieving 20%-efficiency cells.
From 2004 to 2008, Sheri was a research scientist at nGimat, where she worked on developing tunable ferroelectric microwave devices. She improved the device performance and yield using innovative processing techniques. She was the recipient of two Small Business Innovation Research awards from the US Department of Defense for developing new high frequency devices. From 2009 to 2010, Sheri worked at nGimat as an analytical scientist overseeing the analytical lab.
Sheri received her B.S. from East China University of Science and Technology in Applied Physics, M.S. from Beijing Normal University in Physics, and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Electrical Engineering. At UVA, her research focused on design and fabrication of electrochemical sensors using MEMS technologies. Sheri has authored and coauthored over 20 publications.- Close
Yi is the latest addition to Suniva's research and development group. His primary responsibilities include design, fabrication, characterization and analysis of high efficiency and low cost Si solar cells as well as new technologies for integrating cells into modules.
Yi brings a new set of skills and expertise through his dissertation research focused on the design, fabrication and characterization of mono-crystalline Si:Ge solar cells which is a part of High Efficiency Solar Cell Project funded by DARPA. This Si:Ge solar cell was designed to absorb long wavelength photons transparent to the mono-crystalline Si solar cell. He received his Ph.D. degree from the solar power group at University of Delaware in 2011 under the guidance of Dr. Allen Barnett. Yi received his B.S. from Zhejiang University in Electrical Engineering at 2005 and has worked as a process engineer in the department of soldering mask at Advanced Semiconductor Incorporation prior to coming to the US for his graduate work.- Close
3.28.13 - Suniva wins Manufacturer of the Year for medium-sized manufacturers, presented at the 2013 annual “Movers & Makers” Awards, sponsored by Partnership Gwinnett and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
2.3.14 - Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Regional Meeting, Atlanta - Georgia Institute of Technology
Plant Manager, Paul Schneider, Panelist
2.26.14 - 2.28.14
International PV Expo, Tokyo
KGK Booth # E30-26
3.10.14 - 3.11.14
Soligent Dealer Conference, Las Vegas
3.20.14 - 3.21.14
Schletter Workshop, East Granby, CT
5.28.14 - 5.39.14
MIREC, Camino Real Polanco, Mexico
- Past Events, 2013 -
1.31.13 - 2.1.13
Solar Innovation Conference (Soligent), Las Vegas
2.6.13 - 2.8.13
American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), New Orleans
Airport Planning, Design and Construction Symposium
Important Webinar: Understanding GA Power's New Solar Initiative with a focus on commercial/medium-scale options
Sponsored by Suniva, and featuring speakers from Georgia Power, Key Bank and Suniva.
2.10.13 - 2.13.13
6th Annual AEE Solar Dealer Conference, San Diego
2.25.13 - 2.26.13
Caribbean Energy Policy & Procurement Planning (CEPPP):
Aligning Key Stakeholders for Regional Sustainability, Bridgetown, Barbados
2.27.13 - 3.1.13
6th Annual PV Power Generation Expo, Tokyo, Japan
Global Cities Initiative, Atlanta
CEO, John Baumstark, panelist
4.4.13 - 4.5.13
Ex-Im Bank Annual Conference, Washington D.C.
CEO, John Baumstark, panelist
4.22.13 - 4.24.13
Greentech Media's 6th annual Solar Summit, Phoenix
CMO, Bryan Ashley, speaking
4.30.13 - 5.1.13
REFF Latin America/Caribbean, Miami
Webinar: Leverage the benefits of 1000 VDC systems!
CLICK for presentation
CBS - Eye on the Environment, Studio City, CA
Techncial training with Gexpro, Enphase, DPW Solar and Quick Mount PV, Walnut Creek, CA
Louisana's Solar Tax Credit Rules to Change, Effective July 1st
(Click) to learn about Suniva's ARRA and BAA-compliant modules!
7.9.13 - 7.11.13
Intersolar North America, San Francisco
7.18.13, (1-2pm ET)
Webinar: "What Makes PV Module Truly Bankable? The Importance of Quality Materials for Long-term Reliability and Performance"
Hosted by Dr. Stephen Shea of Suniva and Dr. Sarah Kurtz of NREL
10.9.13 - 10.11.13
CREF - Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum,
The Westin Resort Aruba
10.21.13 - 10.24.13
Solar Power International (SPI), Chicago
Exhibitor, Booth # 2415
Solar Opportunities in Georgia and Tennessee, Atlanta
Anthony Coker, panelist
RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainability Forum, Emory Goizueta Business School, Atlanta
Anthony Coker, panelist
6:30 - 8:30pm
Dealing with a Solar Spill - Harnessing the Sun & Living Sustainably
Wylde Center, Decatur, GA - FREE event
Could solar electric power work for you? What does it mean to live the sustainable life?
Join Sol Haroon, Lead Systems Engineer for a look into what solar electric power is today and how to harness the sun. This solar tour and look "underneath the hood" will be within the context of living a sustainable life and the many grounds that such a life covers.
Atlanta Cleantech Forum, Atlanta
John Baumstark, panelist
RSVP to: email@example.com
American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit (AEMC), Washington, D.C.
Vice President Research and Development, Bruce McPherson, panelist