Your support of the Wild Energy Initiative’s Photovoltaic Solar Energy Fund supports scientific research towards improving the sustainability of photovoltaic solar energy, emphasizing reducing adverse impacts and facilitating positive benefits on the environment.
Our research falls at the intersection between photovoltaic (PV) solar energy and the environment. We study critical ecological connections with PV that make the energy we need for human use more sustainable. The work we do provides invaluable training for opportunities for young scientists.
Karen Tanner, a graduate student, studies the impact of PV infrastructure on plants in the Mojave Desert. Specifically, her work helps to understand how ground-mounted, displacive PV modules sited in aridland ecosystems may facilitate the expansion of invasive plants, like Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii), which can make it difficult or impossible for native plants to survive. Madison K. Hoffacker, a masters student in the Energy Graduate Group, conducts research that identifies places to develop solar energy that does not conflict with land needed for agriculture or land needed for conservation to support critical species, like endangered or threatened animals. She explores the use of functional bodies of water (i.e., floatovoltaics), contaminated land like closed landfills and EPA superfund sites (i.e., brightfields), and salt-affected land no longer viable for agriculture for generating electricity through solar energy development, particularly photovoltaic technologies. Lastly, Esther Robles, a renewable energy technician is working to quantify the solar energy potential on the largest commercial buildings in the United States. She works with our industry and environmental non-profit partners, Aurora Solar and the Center for Biological Diversity, to model production of solar energy at the cell-string level and to reduce soft costs that inhibit realization of such projects.
Your generosity is critical to our capacity to continue these investigations that delve deeply into understanding the biological and physical world around us as it relates to our rapid renewable energy transition. Please join us and be a part of a growing and committed group of donors who support vibrant science that advances our mission of enhancing sustainability on planet earth for all species and ecosystems that humans depend on.
Our researchers count on donor’s generosity to fund:
- Travel and accommodations to our field sites where we conduct empirical investigations on the ground;
- Salaries and stipends for student internships, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars;
Thank you for making your gift today and supporting our mission at this important time. The Wild Energy Initiative of the John Muir Institute of the Environment facilitates impartial research and education on interactions between energy development and Earth, including its systems and species, to address exigent sustainability issues.