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City Honors Solar Energy Researchers for their Training Efforts

City Honors Solar Energy Researchers for their Training EffortsAlbuquerque, N.M. — The city of Pittsburgh has honored solar researchers from Sandia National Laboratories for training city staff to install and maintain solar thermal and photovoltaic panels on city facilities. The formal proclamation, signed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, recognizes the Sandia researchers “who braved sleet, snow, ice, and frigid temperatures to assess buildings and provide solar energy education.” Sandia researchers Marissa Reno and Howard Passell accepted the document from Jim Sloss, Pittsburgh’s energy utilities manager, at the third annual Solar America Cities meeting in Salt Lake City on April 13.

“The Sandia researchers were assigned to us by the Department of Energy to provide us with technical assistance, and we wanted to honor them with a little gift,” said Sloss.

Pittsburgh is one of 25 American cities selected by DOE in its Solar America Cities (SAC) program, which aims to remove the barriers to the growth of solar energy technologies across the United States.

The Sandia researchers are part of DOE’s so-called solar Tiger Teams that arrive upon request to solve specific problems, and then return to their respective research institutions.

“The entire Solar America Cities Program has been an extremely effective collaboration between the federal government and cities intended to quickly and dramatically increase the market penetration of solar technologies,” said Passell.

“There had not been much solar development in Pittsburgh,” said Reno, “but as a result of the work the city of Pittsburgh has done in the SAC program, the list of solar projects and initiatives in Pittsburgh has grown considerably. We hope that Pittsburgh will continue down the path it has started on and continue to grow its solar program.”

Early in the project, Pittsburgh staff and the Sandia Tiger Team staff collaborated on a regional conference titled “Solar in Cold, Cloudy Climates” that educated city planners and engineers in the greater Pittsburgh area on solar approaches appropriate for that region. Later in the project, Pittsburgh facilities staff were trained in installation techniques for solar hot water technologies. They installed one solar hot water system on a Pittsburgh fire station and have plans to install three more at other stations.

Upcoming Sandia training in photovoltaic installation technologies will include an actual installation, with two more planned after that.

A 3-megawatt solar farm is in the planning stage.

Pittsburgh also is using SAC funding to construct an interactive solar mapping website that will highlight its solar achievements and share solar information. And it is hiring a “solar ambassador” whose work will be dedicated to advancing solar in Pittsburgh.

The three-year program, in which approximately $550,000 was shared between the city of Pittsburgh and Sandia, ends in May.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

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ST Staff Writers
ST Staff Writers
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