U.C. Merced's role in growing green jobs

MERCED, California

This plastic manufacturing company in Merced that was started by a local almond farmer is now making a new product. It's a part for a solar powered air conditioner designed by a U.C. Merced graduate student.

U.C. Merced Graduate Solar Researcher, Heather Poiry said, "When I think about the current study that I'm doing and I understand the whole impact it can have on the Central Valley it really keeps me awake at night because I become so excited that this is actually happening and this is the future."

Projects like this were the focus of a forum at the university Thursday morning hosted by Assembly Member Pedro Nava, Chair of the Select Committee on California's Green Economy. "Green energy and new technology has the potential to create new employment for people in the Central Valley so they don't have to move away, they can stay with their family and where they're familiar, and this university plays an important role in that."

U.C. Merced has been focused on green technology from the start. The buildings on campus are 50% more energy efficient than others built at the same time for the same price. And that's not all ...

U.C Merced Campus Architect, Tom Lollini said, "We recently installed a 1 megawatt solar array that's providing 20 percent of our annual energy needs and about 60 percent of our peak demand and is doing so at about 40 percent below market rates."

Nava says projects like these are already helping the Valley's economy. Now he wants the legislature to find ways to offer more incentives to encourage cleaner, greener businesses and the jobs that come with them.

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