The Southwest Region Experiment Station, a key part of the newly established Institute for Energy and the Environment in the New Mexico State University College of Engineering, has received a $2.8 million renewal contract over the next three years from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The new contract will provide operational funding of $875,000 this year, increasing to $1 million in 2007 and 2008.
Southwest Region Experiment Station Program Manager Andrew Rosenthal said SWRES provides critical support to the DOE National Center for Photovoltaics, which focuses on solar energy research and development. The 3.7-acre SWRES site, located on the NMSU campus, is used for research and testing, instruction, data collection and analysis of solar data, as well as outreach to solar professionals, Rosenthal said.
SWRES was established by the DOE in 1980 to test photovoltaic system prototypes. Today, its engineers and staff help people in the public and private sectors install, use, and understand these systems.
“The research and activities conducted by the Institute for Energy and the Environment will have a significant positive impact on the future of cost-effective energy availability in our region,” said Abbas Ghassemi, director of the institute. “This is precisely the kind of activity that will ensure availability of necessary resources to support regional economic development.”
SWRES provides assistance with the implementation of solar and wind energy programs, as well as assistance in evaluating the feasibility of solar energy projects, creating business plans, and standards development. The funding will be used to continue to support the DOE, Rosenthal said.
SWRES is operated by NMSU’s Southwest Technology Development Institute. The new Institute for Energy and the Environment is an umbrella program comprising WERC: A Consortium for Education and Technology Development, the Carlsbad Environmental and Monitoring Research Center, and the Southwest Technology Development Institute.