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Texas A&M U-Central Texas Launches Center for Solar Energy

Texas A&M University-Central Texas has launched the Center for Solar Energy to evaluate, develop, and test new photovoltaic solar technologies.

The new center, covering approximately 800 acres and costing nearly $600 million, will power the A&M Central Texas campus and "will host the largest assortment of photovoltaic technologies in the world and serve as a true test site for leading-edge technologies," according to a school news release. To further encourage research and education into renewable energy, the university will also be adding new curriculum offerings with plans to expand them as the project grows.

Designed as an incubator, the center will provide support for training, engineering, demonstration, and manufacturing in an effort to bring new technologies to market within two years.

"Technological innovation is the cornerstone of the Center's programs, and it will use the 50MW solar field to create a baseline of data for grading new and existing technologies, while also providing a basis for research. Developers of promising early stage technologies will thus be attracted to Central Texas for training, support, and validation," said Bruce Mercy, executive director of the Center for Solar Energy.

The university is partnering with PPA Partners, a Morgan Hill, CA-based solar company that has previously collaborated with Arizona Western College on a similar project.

"The Center for Solar Energy will not only accelerate research and curriculum development at A&M-Central Texas, it will extend collaborative opportunities across an educational spectrum to universities and agencies within the Texas A&M University System, as well as to our regional community college partners and school districts," said Marc Nigliazzo, president of Texas A&M University-Central Texas, in a prepared statement.

More information on the Center for Solar Energy is available at cse.us.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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