Q: Other than the word "solar", what do these five technologies have in common? Monocrystalline solar panels; polycrystalline solar panels; thin film solar; low concentration solar; high concentration solar.
A: They will all be showcased in a single, enormous solar installation on the Yuma campus of Arizona Western College.
Arizona Western College and PPA Partners, a California-based solar financing firm, jointly announced this exciting project last week. The 5 MW solar installation will provide AWC with 100 percent of its operating power, no mean feat--but then, this will be the largest solar array on the campus of any university or college nationwide. Because the college naturally wants to get all the educational potential it can out of the project, the system(s) will be outfitted with advanced tracking devices that will allow access to complex, detailed sets of data including meteorological and insolation values, energy output, solar cell temperature (hotter than you'd think), and even more.
Not to go solar in a vacuum, AWC is also developing an intense solar curriculum for both two- and four-year degrees. The Yuma campus will also host a 10,000 square foot technology lab for commercial-scale solar energy.
PPA Partners' CEO Bruce Mercy believes this 5 MW project can be a trailblazer for solar education nationwide and will invite collaboration/partnerships with AWC, as most parts of the country can't replicate the naturally abundant Arizona solar resource. (Or "sunshine", in English.)