In 1975, with the help of his family and friends, the then 40-year old Bill Yerkes founds Solar Technology International (STI) in Chatsworth. The company focuses on the use of solar energy on Earth. Until that point, solar power had only been used in space exploration.
Bill Yerkes works in the aerospace industry for Spectrolab, where he is responsible for the development of solar technology for the NASA Apollo 11 mission. The space expert has a brilliant idea to not only use solar power in the aerospace industry, but also in private households.
With Bill Yerkes, solar cells enter mass production
Yerkes is a pioneer in the search for more efficient production techniques for crystalline solar cells. He discovers glass as a cover for the sensitive solar modules. That makes the solar cells more durable and less expensive to produce. Yerkes and his team also introduce a number of innovations which bring the economics of production of silicon-based solar cells to a new level. He simplifies the attachment of silver metal contacts with which the electrical voltage is drawn from the solar cells.
In the following years, the materials and methods introduced by Yerkes develop into industry standards which are still used today in the production of crystalline solar cells.
“In a way, Yerkes left his mark on every crystalline solar cell that was produced at that time.”
(Raju Yenamandra, SolarWorld Vice President Business Development United States)