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This profile was last updated on 12/14/13  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mr. Bill Yerkes

Wrong Bill Yerkes?

Board Member

Phone: (323) ***-****  HQ Phone
Email: b***@***.com
Greenstar Corporation
5042 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 575
Los Angeles, California 90036
United States

Company Description: Greenstar focuses on the economic, social and cultural development challenges facing villages living off the electric and telecommunication grids. One of the...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • Master of Science , Automotive Engineering
    Chrysler Institute of Engineering
  • B.S.
    Stanford University
35 Total References
Web References
Brief Greenstar Biographies Bios, 14 Dec 2013 [cached]
Bill Yerkes
Bill Yerkes earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. After serving in the United States Army, he went to work for Chrysler, at the Chrysler Institute graduate engineering program in Detroit.
Moving to The Boeing Company in the 1960's, Bill built the Boeing Kent Space Environment Laboratory in support of the Apollo lunar landings. Moving to Los Angeles, Bill became President and CEO of Spectrolab. There he was responsible for developing the solar array left behind on the moon by Apollo 11, along with space batteries, xenon pulse solar simulators and "Night Sun" searchlights for helicopters.
Next, Bill founded Solar Technology International, which developed low-cost terrestrial solar cells and modules. After several successful years, he sold STI to Atlantic Richfield, and then served as President of ARCO Solar, building the company into the largest photovoltaic manufacturer in the world.
Bill then returned to Boeing, working on gallium-arsenide RF and photonic components in a new facility he designed. After ten years with the Boeing Space Division, he moved to one of Craig McCaw's companies, Teledesic. Teledesic is dedicated to building a low-earth-orbit worldwide network of Ka-Band communications satellites.
Bill was one Teledesic's first employees, and served in the critical post of electric power systems manager for Teledesic's 800 satellites. He developed low-cost space power systems and electric propulsion Hall thrusters for orbit raising. He also promoted the testing of lithium-ion batteries to replace nickel-based batteries for spacecraft.
Bill is involved today with neighborhood electric vehicles, battery technology, solar cell development, and transit-on-demand. He also assists Greenstar with its telecommunications applications, as an Ambassador.
The People of Greenstar, 14 Dec 2013 [cached]
Bill Yerkes, satellite telecommunications strategy
Bill Yerkes passes at age ..., 16 Feb 2014 [cached]
Bill Yerkes passes at age 79. His 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. Bill 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. There he 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:
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 put it. When we visited them at the home, Sarah as launching a greeting card business based on her photography. Bill was clearly proud and supportive of her efforts. While he retained his 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. Bill and I also shared another distinction: we were both early Honda Insight owners. Mine was silver, his was red.
Bill Yerkes, the man who ..., 12 Feb 2014 [cached]
Bill Yerkes, the man who made solar energy affordable, died in Santa Barbara on January 29 at age 79. A Stanford graduate in mechanical engineering, Yerkes started his career at Chrysler, moved to Boeing aerospace, then to Spectrolab in 1967 where he helped produce the solar array used by Apollo 11 on the moon. At his Solar Technology company in Chatsworth, Yerkes made breakthroughs in photovoltaic solar panels that rendered them strong, long-lived, and cheaper to produce - the price went from $11 per watt in 1980 to $7 per watt by 1985, chiefly due to Yerkes's technical achievements.
He continued to push forward in materials and systems, founding a thin-film solar cell process in the mid-1980s, 15 years before the current industry got its start; helped produce low-Earth-orbiting satellites for Internet communications at Teledisc; and cofounded Solaicx in 2005 where he developed a high-efficiency, low-cost silicon-crystal-growth technique for solar cells. His Solar Tech company - which moved to Camarillo, was bought and renamed successively by ARCO, Siemens, and Shell, then saw its factory shuttered in 2011 - retains the record as the longest continuously operated U.S. solar manufacturer.
The origin of the modern photovoltaic ..., 18 Dec 2008 [cached]
The origin of the modern photovoltaic industry dates back to 1975, when Bill Yerkes founded Solar Technology International (which became Arco Solar) to address terrestrial markets, such as charging batteries. Yerkes was responsible for two major innovations: he stuck silicon wafers on the back of glass, protecting the cells and making his panels almost indestructible. Second, he developed an inexpensive screen-printing technique for depositing metal contacts.
For example, Yerkes, the solar panel pioneer, is today chief technology officer for California-based Solaicx. The company's goal is to change the economics of silicon wafer production, attacking the biggest obstacle to the widescale adoption of solar power: cost.
The conventional method of making solar-grade silicon is to grow individual ingots, then saw them up into wafers. Solaicx has developed a continuous crystal grower that Yerkes says can crank out ingots like sausages.
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