Hi all, I hope you will enjoy your coffee break with this brief interview. My name is Gizem Nogay, I am originally from Turkey, I came to Switzerland for my studies and then I could not leave the mountains and beautiful nature, so here I am. I studied Physics and did my Ph.D. on Si-based solar cells. I also hold an MBA in innovation and technology management. After my Ph.D., I worked as an R&D engineer in a technology transfer company that allowed me to bridge the gap between academia and industry while witnessing first-hand the transformation of theoretical concepts into practical applications with real-world impact. During this period, I recognized the importance of effective project management in ensuring the seamless transition of innovative ideas from the laboratory to the market. This realization prompted me to take on the role of an Innovation Project Manager at Meyer Burger Switzerland. Meyer Burger has a long history in being an equipment manufacturer for the PV industry . Then, in 2020, a strategic turnaround made the Swiss company an integrated PV cell & module producer with a Gigawatt capacity only in Europe and soon in the USA. As Meyer Burger Switzerland, our position is to perform R&D for PV modules and machine development and to feed our production sites in Germany with technological input.
What was your original motivation to become a researcher/project manager?
From the very start of my academic path in Physics, I was captivated by the intricate science behind solar cells. The process of exploring new frontiers, understanding complex phenomena, and working on solutions that had the potential to revolutionize the way we generate energy is incredibly exciting for me. I am passionate about combining my technical expertise with project management skills to drive innovation and propel the adoption of sustainable solutions.
What is your main research area today?
Today I am working as an Innovation Project Manager for PV Modules based on Silicon Heterojunction Technology. I am mainly guiding the entire lifecycle of innovative projects by designing and performing the proof of concept test with novel materials and approaches for the next-generation PV products. In PILATUS, I am coordinating the activities for the Strategy and Product Innovation.
What is the main focus of your team in PILATUS?
In PILATUS, we are responsible to build an SHJ tunnel-IBC module pilot line starting from design to commissioning, testing, ramping up, and demonstrating an annual throughput of 170 MW. Our focus is contributing to product development using the cutting-edge SHJ tunnel-IBC technology and preparing the final product with increased performance and reliability for pre-certification before scaling up to mass production.
From all your activities within the project, what are you the most proud of/keen to share with the public?
One of the most important competencies of Meyer Burger is the capability to design and optimize its own production machine according to specific needs thanks to the immense expertise developed over the years. This agility is something that we are very proud of.
How do you expect the PILATUS results will impact your organisation and the PV sector in Europe?
The outcome of the PILATUS project has strategic importance for Meyer Burger overall as its lesson learned while establishing pilot line production will help us to expend more effectively the SHJ tunnel-IBC production capacity in Europe. This would help Meyer Burger significantly to keep its competitive advantage in the PV market.