Richard Swanson (pictured), CTO and cofounder of SunPower, is the 2010 recipient of the IEEE Jun-ichi Nishizawa medal, which is sponsored by the Federation of Electric Power Companies, Japan, and the Semiconductor Research Foundation, Japan. The medal was awarded for Swanson’s concept and commercialization of high-efficiency point-contact crystalline-silicon solar cell technology.

"When SunPower was founded 25 years ago, solar was little more than a concept," said Swanson. "Today, it is within reach of becoming mainstream throughout much of the world, and it is highly gratifying to be a part of this energy revolution. SunPower has contributed to the phenomenal growth of solar, and I have been fortunate to work with extraordinary engineers to deliver, what is today, the planet's most powerful solar technology. It is my extreme privilege to accept the 2010 IEEE Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal."

Swanson’s research has delved into the semiconductor properties of silicon for a better understanding of the operation of silicon solar cells. He is a fellow of IEEE and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Swanson has 15 US patents and has been awarded the IEEE William R. Cherry award for outstanding contributions to the PV field, the Becquerel Prize for Outstanding Merits in PV from the European Commission, and the Economist’s Energy and Environmental Award for 2009.