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UC Solar Working to Meet State’s Renewable Energy Goals

MERCED, Calif. — 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.

UC Merced Heating Up Mongolia’s Harsh Winter

One of the world’s oldest civilizations – with the worst air pollution and the coldest capital city – will employ cutting-edge technology from the newest UC campus starting in February.

Professor Roland Winston, who leads the UC Merced-based UC Solar Institute, just returned from a trip to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital. He met with the owner of Mongolia National University, a 15-year-old institution with about 9,000 students, to discuss installing a solar-thermal unit on one of the campus buildings to generate 3 kilowatts of steam heat for a portion of the campus.

Summer Research Takes UC Merced Around the Globe

Just because it’s summertime doesn’t mean research at UC Merced comes to a halt.

Just the opposite.

This summer, professors and students at all levels are conducting a variety of research projects on campus, off campus, in the oceans and forests and around the world.

Up in Yosemite National Park, for example, nine undergraduate students are getting a summer experience to last them a lifetime, conducting research with faculty researchers from UC Merced, scientists from the U.S. Geologic Survey and from the park.

Applying Creative Solutions to ‘Impossible’ Problems

The tougher a problem, the more creative a solution it needs, from the increasing power in orbiting satellites and saving tigers to saving state parks and catching thieves.

And when a problem seems absolutely impossible?

“That’s when you call me,” said Professor Erik Rolland. “I love modeling problems people haven’t been able to model or solve before.”

Researchers' Refinement Increases Solar Concentrator Efficiency

A team of researchers at the University of California, Merced, has redesigned luminescent solar concentrators to be more efficient at sending sunlight to solar cells.

The advancement could be an important breakthrough for solar energy harvesting, said UC Merced physics Professor Sayantani Ghosh, who led the project.

“We tweaked the traditional flat design for luminescent solar concentrators and made them into cylinders,” Ghosh said. “The results of this architectural redesign surprised us, as it significantly improves their efficiency.”

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