Richard Swanson

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Richard Swanson is the retired founder of the SunPower, a solar photovoltaic cell manufacturer.


Swanson graduated in 1974 with a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He then joined the university faculty and began research in solar cell technology.[1][2] In 1985 Swanson received grants for his solar energy research from the Electric Power Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy.[3] That same year he founded SunPower Corporation.[3] Swanson is credited for creating Swanson's law, an observation that solar cell prices decline by 20% for every doubling of solar panel industry capacity.[4] The law is often compared to the better known Moore's Law.[4] While Swanson is more frequently associated with Gordon Moore because of the similarity of their eponymous "laws", the current CEO, and former colleague of Swanson's, Tom Werner has called him the "Shockley of solar", a reference to William Shockley.[1]


Marshall Scholarship.[citation needed][when?]

In 2009, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering for the invention of the point-contact solar cell for increased efficiency of commercial solar energy.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "The father of solar in the U.S." 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  2. ^ Wolfe, Philip. The Solar Generation. Wiley - IEEE. p. 185. ISBN 9781119425588.
  3. ^ a b "SunPower History". 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  4. ^ a b "Sunny Uplands: Alternative energy will no longer be alternative". The Economist. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2012-12-28.