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UC Solar

a group of students in front of lab equipment

An array of solar panels capture sunlight.

Solar power is the Earth’s original renewable energy source, and if there’s one thing California has an abundance of, it’s sunshine, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.

That’s why UC Merced is the perfect choice to lead the UC Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar), comprising participants from UC campuses in Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Davis, San Diego, Riverside, Irvine, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles, as well.

Distinguished Professor Roland Winston and dozens of other researchers across the UC system, including graduate and undergraduate students, work on a variety of projects at the UC Solar labs. From controlled lighting to reduce light pollution in national parks to new water-heating technology that could reduce the need for natural gas, UC Solar’s many innovative faculty members, postdoctoral researchers and students throughout the consortium are dedicated to developing more efficient, more affordable and more integrative solar energy technologies.

Co-led by non-imaging optics pioneer Winston and UC Merced Professor Gerardo Diaz, UC Solar has made inroads around the globe, including introducing solar energy in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a city with some of the world’s poorest air quality and coldest temperatures; and Singapore, where light-permeable building materials are bringing natural lighting, with all its benefits, to office buildings; and developed solar-cooling technology unlike any other in the world.