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Arizona Solar Center Blog

Commentary from Arizona Solar Center Board Members and invited contributors.

While blog entries are initiated by the Solar Center, we welcome dialogue around the posted topics. Your expertise and perspective are highly valued -- so if you haven't logged in and contributed, please do so!

Solar is the Bridge to Our Future

by Gabrielle Giffords, U.S. Representative from Arizona

The Middle East is synonymous with oil -- a critical natural resource that has transformed the nations of that region into some of the wealthiest on Earth. My home state of Arizona has no oil to speak of but is blessed with a natural resource that in my opinion is even better: abundant sunshine. Just as oil was a passport to wealth in the 20th century, I believe the sun will be a gateway to prosperity in the 21st.

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Prism Solar offers low-cost solution for green revolution

New York-based Prism Solar Technologies Inc., which has its research center in Tucson, Arizona, is planning to begin production of solar materials that redirect and concentrate sunlight to boost efficiency and reduce the use of costly crystalline silicon, which is used in approximately 85 percent of the solar cell market. Prism Solar, which is headquartered in Highland, N.Y., has been able to replace a large percentage of the crystalline silicon with its patented Holographic Planar Concentrator film, as a low-cost solution for the green revolution, while retaining or surpassing the initial cell efficiency.

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Sunrise for solar heat power

Four technologies aim to use heat from the sun to make electricity. But which one has the edge?

Nearly a century ago, American engineer Frank Shuman erected five immense, trough-shaped mirrors in Meadi, Egypt. The parabolic reflectors directed sunlight onto a tube suspended above their 200-foot lengths. Water inside the tubes boiled and created steam. The steam powered a 65-horsepower engine, which pumped 6,000 gallons of water per minute from the Nile River to nearby cotton fields. It was the world’s first concentrated solar power (CSP) plant.

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