New Columbian College institute to study solar energy

The University is in the early stages of establishing an Institute of Solar Energy Analysis within the Columbian College, officials announced earlier this month.

The new CCAS institute will research the economic and technological advantages solar power. Its creation reflects the national and international emphasis on alternative energy sources and environmental challenges.

“Our goals are to develop a better understanding of the issues and potentials of solar energy, specifically for reaching a significant portion – as much as 50 percent – of the U.S.’s energy demands in a reasonable period of time,” said Ken Zweibel, who will serve as the head of the institute.

He said energy from the sun is “one of the few alternative sources capable of replacing terawatts of fossil fuel consumption” and will assist the nation in moving away from its dependence on fossil fuels.

“It is important because the world has a lot of problems associated with the cost of conventional fossil fuel and environmental fuel on climate change,” said Zweibel, who has previously assisted the U.S. Department of Energy in developing solar technology for low-cost electricity. “Solar energy is a possible solution to this problem and we want to understand its potential and the issues associated with it.”

CCAS Dean Peg Barratt said the new center will help both the University and the nation.

“We’re building the resources to provide trusted, scientifically sound information and analysis of solar energy to assist our nation’s policy makers as they develop our country’s energy policy,” Barratt said in a news release.

No official date has been set for the institute’s opening, nor has a location been announced.

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