Nevada institutions of higher learning receive $20 million grant to study solar energy

Nevada higher education officials, along with U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Monday announced Nevada will receive a $20 million National Science Foundation grant to further the study of solar energy in the desert.

The grant was awarded through the foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, and the money will be distributed to entities within the Nevada System of Higher Education over a five-year period.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Nevada, Reno, and the Desert Research Institute will collaborate on a project dubbed The Solar-Energy-Water-Environment Nexus in Nevada.

The project will study large-scale solar energy installations in the desert and how to make solar panels more efficient while using less water, Reid said. The project will create jobs for about 100 technicians, students and faculty.

A testing research facility will be built outside Boulder City, officials said. That’s where most of the project’s work would be done.

The project will help address a national need and will enhance Nevada’s position in clean energy, Reid said.

The topic “just really makes sense for Nevada,” said Gayle Dana, project director for the Nevada National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

Dan Klaich, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, said officials were overjoyed at receiving the grant.

“It sends a message that we do first-class competitive science research here in Nevada,” he said. “I don’t think you can underestimate how important that message is.”

Contact Yesenia Amaro at yamaro@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0440.