ASRC’s Perez Earns International Award for Role in Renewable Energy Transition

Richard Perez, Senior Research Faculty Atmospheric Sciences Research Center
Richard Perez, senior research associate at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 14, 2023) — Atmospheric scientist Richard Perez has spent more than four decades researching solar energy technology, including its important role in the decarbonization of our society.

Now a senior research associate at the University at Albany’s Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, Perez is being recognized as a visionary in his field.

Perez, along with his son Marc, received the “Visionary CleanTech Scientist Distinction,” as part of the 2022 winners of the World CleanTech Awards, announced last month at an event in Abu Dhabi during the country’s annual Sustainability Week and World Future Energy Summit.

Powered by CleanTech Business Club, the awards recognize individuals and companies around the globe that are paving the way for the renewable energy transition. The CleanTech Business Club, together with its strategic partners, has recognized visionary individuals each year since 2017.

“We are very pleased to congratulate this impressive slate of winners of our World CleanTech Awards and Distinctions,” said Eicke Weber, a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley and chair of the World CleanTech Awards. “2023 will be a very important year again for further progress towards our goal of 100 percent renewable energy supply, as we have to achieve important reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”

Achieving 100 Percent Renewables 

Marc Perez at the European PV conference.
Richard and his son Marc (pictured here) have published more than a dozen papers together as research colleagues.

Richard and Marc have long believed that solar energy will play a critical role in helping the United States achieve its ambitious goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

As research colleagues, they’ve published more than a dozen papers together, including a 2019 PV-Tech Power article that described their cost-effective solution to bridge the gap between the production of intermittent renewables and customer demand. The method combines the use of oversized renewable assets and energy curtailment, a strategy now referred to as “implicit storage.”

The solution, initially developed as part of Marc Perez’s PhD dissertation at Columbia University, continues to gain traction, including a mention in the International Energy Agency’s 2023 Photovoltaic Power Systems report.

“We are proud to be recognized for our innovative approach to achieving a 100 percent renewable future,” said Richard Perez. “When I first started this research, most people were not prepared to start thinking about solar as a viable, large-scale energy source. Our home was the first to be powered by solar in the Capital Region and our research team was among the first to install rooftop solar panels in New York City. It’s rewarding to be part of the clean energy transition.”

“I am extremely honored to receive this distinction at the World CleanTech Awards,” added Marc Perez. “Firstly, because I am thankful the counterintuitive implicit storage/firm power concept developed during my PhD at Columbia has finally gained widespread traction. Secondly, because I am receiving it with my father with whom I regularly collaborate with and who convinced me at a very young age of solar energy's promise.”

Solar Energy Experts 

The Perez family solar house.
The Perez family house, built in 1995, was the first in the Capital Region to be powered by solar energy.

Richard Perez holds a PhD in atmospheric sciences from UAlbany and has led solar energy research at ASRC for nearly 40 years. He’s produced more than 250 journal articles, book chapters and conference papers and holds U.S. patents in energy storage technology and load management using photovoltaics.

Along with his own research, he also co-authored a whitepaper in 2020 with other UAlbany renewable energy researchers that dives into what is needed to help New York reach its 100 percent carbon-free electricity goals over the next 20 years.

After graduating from Columbia in 2014, Marc Perez moved to Paris, working as an independent consultant to help public and private clients implement clean technology. He’s now a lead researcher at Clean Power Research in San Francisco, helping companies successfully navigate the energy transition.  

CleanTech Business Club will present Richard and Marc with their award at the 2023 RE+, the largest energy event in North America, this fall in Las Vegas.