Since 2008, Michael Powalla, a member of the ZSW board of directors, has been head of the Photovoltaics Division in Stuttgart. Previously, he was a member of the scientific staff at the department Photovoltaics: Materials Research, the management of which he took over in 1999. He earned his PhD degree in 1998 at the Faculty of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology of the University of Stuttgart. As a physicist, he devotes his attention to materials and processes of energy conversion with a focus on photvoltaics. Since 2010, Prof. Powalla holds a professorship for thin-film photvoltaics at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Light Technology Institut, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. From 2007 through 2011, he was Managing Director of Würth Electronic Research GmbH.
Michael Powalla is concerned with research and development issues along the entire value chain of photovoltaics, from materials research through module and plant technology as well as systems integration. As an expert for CIGS thin-film solar modules, he has seen the technology transfer of CIGS technology from the ZSW lab through series production in cooperation with partners from industry. Since 2003, Prof. Powalla has been teaching at KIT. He is also involved in the Karlsruhe School of Optics and Photonics (KSOP), the Center for Functional Nanostructures (CFN) at KIT. Prof. Powalla teaches also in the Master Online Photovoltaics program of University Freiburg and Fraunhofer ISE. He has been project leader and coordinator of numerous research and demonstration projects. Projects were either funded direct by industry as well as from national and federal ministries and by the European Commission in several programs. Prof. Powalla is a renowned expert in thin-film photovoltaics and a member of the “European Energy Research Alliance (EERA)”. He contributes to the „Strategic Research Agenda for Photovoltaic Solar Energy Technology” of the „European Photovoltaic Technology Platform“ and to the Ad-hoc group “Photovoltaics” of the academy project “Energiesysteme der Zukunft” (Energy Systems of the Future, ESYS for short). His publications number is well above 200 in journals and conference proceedings. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (EU-PVSEC) and member of the advisory board and scientific leader (2010, 2015) of the “PV Symposium” in Bad Staffelstein. He organized several international conferences and workshops to thin-Film PV Technologies and is official „Reviewer of Manuscripts“ for different journals and Associate Editor of IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics (J-PV). He did international consulting and evaluation of different projects and is member of the German Physical Society (DPG), the Materials Research Society, USA as well as the European Materials Research Society.