New solar energy technologies to be discussed at seminar

The solar energy industry is emerging as a key player in the multipronged approach California will take in leading the nation in renewable energy, experts say.

And the University of California’s research is leading the way.

UC Merced, home of the University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar), is sponsoring a seminar exploring the solar industry’s present and future and the many creative initiatives being developed by the University of California.

The seminar will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 17, in the California Public Utilities Commission Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco. It’s free and open to anyone interested in advanced knowledge of solar technologies and trends.

UC Solar is a multicampus research institute comprising faculty members from the universities in Merced, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Davis, San Diego, Riverside, Santa Cruz, Irvine and Los Angeles.

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.

Professor Roland Winston said the seminar is for those outside the university to learn about some of the advanced solar technologies being developed by UC researchers.

He said it also allows the researchers to hear from globally recognized scientists, policymakers, system developers and utilities about the challenges that are inhibiting even greater use of solar technology

Those challenges include lowering the cost of energy conversion; facilitating integration at the building, community and utility levels; and developing programs that enable California to reach its energy goals effectively and affordably, 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.

Winston is the director of UC Solar and the father of non-imaging optics as well as their applications to solar energy collection. He will be one of this year’s presenters. The others 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.

Lunch at the seminar will be provided for all, but space is limited, so be sure to register early by contacting Robyn Lukens at or (209) 228-2988.