Skip to Content

UC Solar Overview

The University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar) is a multi-campus research institute made up of faculty from the University of California’s Merced, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Davis, San Diego, Riverside, Santa Cruz, Irvine and Los Angeles campuses. UC Solar was established by a grant from the University of California Office of Research and officially launched in 2010. Headquartered at UC Merced, UC Solar creates technologies that make solar energy systems more efficient, more affordable, and the best choice for the people of California and the world. In addition, UC solar educates and develops tomorrow’s solar energy leaders and entrepreneurs.

Current UC Solar research areas include: developing state-of-the-art solar energy generation technologies; facilitating system integration at the residential, community and utility scale; and examining solar energy economics and policy.

• UC Solar-affiliated researchers at UC Merced are utilizing non-imaging optics to design thermal and photovoltaic solar concentrators.

• Participating researchers at UC Berkeley are focusing on achieving very high-efficiency devices using nanoneedles, nanowires and quantum dots.

• UC Santa Barbara researchers are developing materials to harness power in the ultraviolet portion of the solar spectrum.

• UC Davis researchers are using materials to create new photovoltaic cells and to develop sunlight-to-electricity processes.

• UC San Diego researchers are working on using new nanomaterials to develop wide spectrum solar cells and solar fuel conversion technologies.

• UC Riverside researchers are working on high-performance solar cells, enhanced battery and thermal storage technologies, and grid integration.

• UC Santa Cruz researchers are working on new materials for solar energy conversion and intelligent infrastructure for energy systems control, operation and management.

• UC Irvine researchers are working on low-cost solar cells, thermoelectric devices, water splitting for chemical fuel production, and enabling technologies.

• UC Los Angeles researchers are working on solution process solar cells using polymers and other inorganic substances.

Through collaboration with utilities, industry and other stakeholders, UC Solar researchers are tasked with creating solar technologies that can be brought to the marketplace quickly and integrated seamlessly. UC Solar partners with industry participants through the UC Solar Industry Consortium, which attracts companies that design, produce, implement, manage and invest in solar technologies.