Texas A&M University-Central Texas (A&M-Central Texas) has established the Center for Solar Energy to evaluate, develop and test practical and emergent technologies relating to renewable energy and photovoltaic solar technologies. The college is developing the project with California-based PPA Partners, a solar energy company.
A&M-Central Texas says that when completed, the nearly $6 million center will cover up to 800 acres in Bell County and house a power generation system that will supply its campus.
‘Technological innovation is the cornerstone of the center's programs, and it will use the 50 MW solar field to create a baseline of data for grading new and existing technologies, while also providing a basis for research,’ says Center for Solar Energy Executive Director Bruce Mercy. ‘Developers of promising early-stage technologies will thus be attracted to Central Texas for training, support and validation.’
As part of the project, A&M-Central Texas will add new curriculum to encourage research and education in renewable energy, while enhancing business and marketing programs. The college says it will expand those offerings as the field grows.Â
The college hopes the center will serve as an incubator to bring emerging technologies from concept to market within two years through a program that includes training, engineering, demonstration and manufacturing support. Participants will enter the program through an awarded scholarship, venture capital partner or advisory board recommendation.