passes at age 79.
company pioneered the development of commercially -viable photovoltaics, beginning steady slide from cells costing $11 a watt to as little as a $1 today.
I had the privilege of knowing Bill Yerkes
[second from right in above photo*].
I was saddened to learn last night that he died on January 29th at the age of 79.
was one of the world's leading pioneers in photovoltaics, but not before a stint at Chrysler
From Chrysler, he moved on to Boeing, working in their aerospace division and then to Spectrolab.
helped develop the solar array for Apollo 11's
mission to the moon.
In 1975, he started Solar Technology International in Chatsworth, California, one of the first companies to mass-produce crystalline solar cells.
The company was acquired by Atlantic Richfield, where Bill served as the CEO of the renamed ARCO Solar, located in Camarillo, California.
As Scott Sklar points out in his
tribute to Bill
became a loyal EV World subscriber not long after I started the online publication, and for years we'd correspond by email.
I finally got to meet him and his
wife Sarah during the closing days of the first California Fuel Cell Rally in 2002.
The event started in Monterey, California and over the course of the next two days wound down the Pacific Coast Highway, ending up in Santa Barbara, where Bill
and Sarah bought a small 1920's era bungalow that they were remodeling at the time.
ill had written me that after spending a number of years in the gloom of Seattle, working at Teledisc
to come up with battery technology for their low-cost communication satellite, he
and Sarah, who is a Nebraska native, decided to keep driving south along the U.S. West Coast until the sun shined, I think is how he
When we visited them at the home, Sarah as launching a greeting card business based on her
was clearly proud and supportive of her
interest in advanced batteries, dropping me an email from time to time describing a particularly promising battery chemistry, his
passion for solar never dimmed.
It was in 2005 that he co-founded Solaicx, the story of which I featured here on EV World.
and I also shared another distinction: we were both early Honda Insight owners.
Mine was silver, his