Prominent solar energy and renewable energy advocate Dr Hermann Scheer passed away unexpectedly in Berlin on Thursday.
Scheer was a member of the German Parliament, president of Eurosolar and general chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy.
"One of his greatest achievements, next to many books and inspiring speeches, was to initiate the successful feed-in tariff legislation for renewable energy, which is today used in 50 countries all over the world. Another tremendous success was the creation of the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2009, which has 148 member states to date," said the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) in a statement on Friday.
Scheer received many awards, like the Alternative Nobel Prize and, in 2004, the World Wind Energy Award.
Scheer was in South Africa in October 2009 when he opened the world solar congress, which took place in Johannesburg. At the congress, he emphasised the need for adequate policy to drive renewable energy uptake.
Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa chairperson and University of Johannesburg energy studies professor John Ledger said that South Africa, and the world has lost a leading proponent of renewable energy.
"Hermann Scheer made a big impression at our congress last year. His untimely death has robbed the world of a leading solar energy champion. His spirit will live on in the minds and works of the people that he touched," added Ledger.
Scheer was credited with pushing through the legislation that resulted in Germany adopting its pioneering renewable energy feed-in tariff laws. More than 430 000 rooftop photovoltaic systems in Germany feed renewable energy into the national grid as a result of his innovative thinking.
"The world has lost a great personality and leader who impressed us all with his fight for the solar age, for a global renewable energy future. His personal passion and his independence convinced people around the world that renewable energy is the only viable option for a world energy system that provides equal opportunities to all human beings in a sustainable way," said WWEA president Dr Anil Kane.
"Hermann Scheer has been world's most powerful advocate for renewable energy during the last two decades. We are shocked and deeply saddened about the loss of our founding councillor, colleague and friend. He has been essential in determining the World Future Council's work on spreading Renewable Energy policies and showing that 100% renewable energy is possible in the near future," said Eurosolar president and World Future Council founder Jakob von Uexküll.
"His personal commitment and his incomparable campaigning spirit will continue to encourage many policy-makers, experts and citizens around the world to fight for a world without fossil fuel or nuclear," added Von Uexküll.