Dr. Charlie Gay is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office. In this position, he leads a team that is dedicated to early-stage research and development of solar technologies, with a focus on how they contribute to supporting the reliability, resilience, and security of the U.S. electric grid.
Charlie is an internationally recognized pioneer in photovoltaics. After starting his career in 1975 designing solar power system components for communications satellites at Spectrolab, Inc, he later joined ARCO Solar, where he established the research and development program and led the commercialization of crystalline silicon and thin film technologies.
In 1990, he became president and chief operating officer of Siemens Solar Industries, and from 1994 to 1997, he served as director of DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In 1997, he was named president and chief executive officer of ASE Americas, Inc., and from 2001 to 2005 served as founding chairman of the technical advisory board at SunPower Corporation. He joined Applied Materials in 2006 as corporate vice president and general manager of the Solar Business Group. He served as president of Applied Solar and chairman of the Applied Solar Council from 2009-2013. As president, Charlie was responsible for positioning applied materials and its solar efforts with important stakeholders in the energy industry, technical community and governments around the world.
He earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside and was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2013. He established the Greenstar Foundation in 1997 to demonstrate an economically sustainable model that delivers solar power and internet access for health, education and microenterprise projects to developing world villages.