The solar energy industry is emerging as a key player in the multi-pronged approach California will take in leading the nation in renewable energy, experts say.
And the University of California’s research is leading the way.
The University of California, Merced, home of the University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar), is sponsoring a seminar exploring the solar industry present and future, and the many creative initiatives being developed by the University of California.
“Our annual symposia are a vehicle for those outside the university to learn about some of the advanced solar technologies being developed by UC researchers, and they are a vehicle for those same researchers to hear from globally recognized scientists, policymakers, system developers and utilities about the challenges that are inhibiting even greater solar adoption,” said professor Roland Winston, director of UC Solar and the father of non-imaging optics and their applications to solar energy collection.
Those challenges include lowering the cost of energy conversion; facilitating integration at the building, community and utility scales, and developing policies and programs that enable California to reach its energy goals in an effective and affordable manner, he said.
“Our objective is to facilitate a two-way conversation with the goal of a more complete understanding of where we want to go with solar energy systems and how we can all work together to get there,” Winston said. This year’s presenters include:
- Samuel Baldwin, chief science officer for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy;
- Robert Sherick, manager of Advanced Technology for Southern California Edison;
- Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association;
- Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission;
- Laurie ten Hope, deputy director of the California Energy Commission’s Energy Research and Development Division; and
- Professor Roland Winston, director of UC Solar
UC Solar is a multi-campus research institute comprising faculty members from the University of California’s Merced, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Davis, San Diego, Riverside, Santa Cruz, Irvine and Los Angeles campuses. Headquartered at UC Merced, UC Solar develops innovative technologies that make solar energy systems more efficient, more affordable and easier to integrate. In addition, UC Solar educates and develops tomorrow’s solar energy leaders and entrepreneurs.
This is the fourth symposium UC Solar has sponsored. Past presenters include professor Nicola Cabibbo from the University of Rome, Sapienza and president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences; Sarah Kurtz, a principal scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Nobel Laureate Arno Penzias; National Renewable Energy Laboratory Executive Director Larry “Kaz” Kazmerski; and Robert Weisenmiller, chair of the California Energy Commission.