Scientist Monica Oliphant AO was named 2016 South Australia’s Senior Australian of the Year last night.
Originally working as a laser physicist many years ago, Monica’s focus switched to solar photovoltaics and renewable energy and she’s been a tireless advocate for renewables ever since; often volunteering her time.
Starting in the 1970’s, Monica was a senior research scientist with the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA) for eighteen years and her work during that period enabled grid connected solar power systems and wind energy in the state.
Ms. Oliphant was President of the International Solar Energy Society from 2008 to 2009.
Her long career in promoting renewables has seen her achieve much recognition, including the Ecogen 2011 Award for the “Most Outstanding Contribution to the Clean Energy Industry” and the World Renewable Energy Network Pioneer Award in 2012.
Monica was also recognised in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for distinguished service to the renewable energy sector.
Her work has taken her all over the world; even very recently. Earlier this year she lead a team of scientists from Malaysia, Russia and China undertaking a feasibility study on renewable energy in China.
Ms. Oliphant is currently an adjunct associate professor with the Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment at the University of South Australia and among her various other projects, she is the Patron of Corena Fund; which taps the power of community to fund solar power installations.
“Monica has maintained a lifelong commitment to improving all people’s access, particularly those of lower socio-economic status, to environmentally and economically sustainable energy,” states the Australian of the Year announcement.
Monica now join recipients from the other States and Territories as finalists for the national Australian Of The Year Awards, to be announced on 25 January 2016 in Canberra.
State and territory selection committees select four finalists for each award category: Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year (those aged 65 years or over), Young Australian of the Year (ages 16 to 30) and Australia’s Local Hero.