The Solar Nexus Project is a science, engineering and high-tech program based in Nevada that falls directly in line with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s Nevada economic development plan, which names seven sectors that the Solar Nexus Project serves: information technology (IT), renewable energy, workforce development, water/environmental, economic diversification, research and education. The plan includes such action items as: “Advance knowledge-based industries through partnerships with higher education.”

The plan also states: “A significant factor in the success of Nevada’s new economy will be the development and introduction into the market of new products, services, and business models. Working with institutions of higher education, entrepreneurs, investors, and companies, Nevada will make technology-based economic development (TBED) a priority.” It also states: “In the meantime, GOED and its RDA partners will help advance knowledge-based industries through partnerships between higher education and targeted sectors” such as: “Innovation and technology commercialization in partnership with NSHE.” And: “… sector enhancement will also be achieved through energetically working with community colleges to deliver a skilled workforce and dynamically linking higher education and industries in research collaboration.”

The project has potentially many positive economic impacts for Nevada, including:

• Less expensive and, thus, more competitive solar electricity

• Attract solar companies that will take advantage of our center of research excellence capabilities and expertise

• People trained in the skills needed to enhance the ability of Nevada to meet the qualified staffing needs of solar companies

• Demonstrate to solar companies that the state is eager to collaborate and facilitate work on technical issues

• Demonstrate to companies that performance improvements to solar plants are possible, with this message spreading through the industry

• Assist governmental agencies in better understanding the implications of the solar plant approval process, resulting in a more company-friendly environment for locating operational plants in Nevada

• Foster collaboration with researchers from other arid and sun-rich regions, including Southern Spain, Israel, Western China, North Africa and Australia

The abundant solar flux in Nevada makes the state one of the best sources for solar energy generation in the world. Development of this energy source has the potential to diversify Nevada’s economy.

Nevada’s Science and Technology Plan identifies priority areas including alternative and renewable energy, climate change, education, human health, technology (including information technology), urban and rural sustainability, as well as water resources and policy. The S&T goals for alternative and renewable energy are fostering development of diverse renewable and alternative energy sources; producing trained technicians, engineers, and scientists to provide the workforce needed for a clean energy economy; and educating NV citizens about the benefits of alternative renewable energy.