Peter Varadi’s New Book: ‘Sun Above the Horizon’

I have had the privilege of being Peter Varadi’s friend for the past several years, and am pleased to bring this important book to your attention. It is a unique and valuable contribution to the history of solar photovoltaics (PV) authored by a true solar energy pioneer.

I will let his brief bio speak for itself: “Peter F. Varadi escaped from Hungary in 1956 and after a distinguished scientific career was appointed head of the Communication Satellite Corporation’s (COMSAT) chemistry laboratory in the U.S. in 1968. In this function he also participated in research on photovoltaic (PV) solar cells, which were used to power the satellites.
In 1973 he co-founded SOLAREX Corporation, Rockville, MD (USA) to develop the utilization of solar cells (PV) for terrestrial applications. SOLAREX was one of the two companies which pioneered this field. By 1983 it had become the largest PV company in the world when it was sold to AMOCO. Following that he continued consulting for Solarex for 10 years and after that for the European Commission, The World Bank, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and other solar energy organizations.
In 2004, in recognition of his lifelong service to the global PV sector and his continuing commitment striving for excellence in the PV industry, Dr. Varadi received the European Photovoltaic Industry Association’s (EPIA) John Bonda prize. He is a Fellow of the Washington Academy of Sciences.”

I have also had the opportunity to review Peter’s new, 548 page, book prior to its publication by Pan Stanford Publishing in paperback on May 23d ($24.95) and in hard cover ($69.95) on June 10th. At Peter’s request the book is being offered at a 20% discount ($19.96 and $55.96) and free shipping until August 31st. To obtain this discount please go to: (paperback) (hard cover)
In both cases use the special saving code PAN01 (numeric zero).

I believe the best way to express my enthusiasm for this book is to reproduce some of my review comments submitted to the publisher:

“The book is a unique contribution to the history of solar PV electricity, an energy technology that is transforming the way we generate and use electricity. No other book that I know of puts this history together.

As someone who is intimately familiar with the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies, which I have been studying and working on since 1969, I can nevertheless truthfully say I learned a great deal I did not know about the PV industry’s early years and its subsequent expansion into a critical part of the world’s current and future energy system. The audience for this book will include lots of people like me who have lived through these early days and can relate to much of the history, but also the rapidly increasing number of people in the PV industry around the globe, and the growing number of young people, all over, who are committed to cleaner energy systems and will enter the field. This includes technically-oriented as well as business-oriented people who will benefit greatly from Peter’s wise business insights. In my opinion, as a former academic, it is also textbook material at several academic levels.

I might add that the environmental, development, and public health communities will find the book useful as well as they apply photovoltaics to providing basic human energy needs, reducing carbon emissions from power generation, and helping provide potable water for drinking, sanitation, and food production.”

“”Based on some personal experience teaching at various levels, I could see this book being used as supplementary, and even primary, reading in high school, undergraduate and graduate courses. This would include a broad range of students, both technical and non-technical, and I could easily see myself using this book in an energy course I would teach. It would also have a history and government audience.”

“PV is a powerful transforming technology that is being increasingly applied in both developed and developing countries. The audience for this book will be global.”

“I am unaware of any other book that addresses this history as comprehensively as this book does. It also benefits greatly from being written by a true pioneer who helped create a new and critically important industry. It is a history that needed to be told and I can think of no one better than Peter Varadi to tell it.”

You can tell that I am enthusiastic about this book. It has a structure that carefully lays out the history and anticipates the future.