Advancing Environmental Understanding Empowers Industry

Left to right: Richard Perez, Paul Roundy
Photo by Rob Spring Photography
Atmospheric science researchers at UAlbany are bringing innovative ideas and solutions to businesses around the globe.

Richard Perez of the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center has invented and patented the Solar Load Controller (SLC) to better integrate solar energy in satisfying overall power demand. Industrial and business power consumers, such as "big-box stores" and Energy Management Systems, have steadily increased use of solar energy to control costs, but demand reduction has been compromised locally through such occurrences as passing clouds.

SLC reduces load when needed by reacting to the availability of solar energy, measuring the output of the solar generation systems and taking demand-side remedial action as needed to realize maximum potential benefit. Early estimates suggest SLC could save over $50-$100 per KW of installed capacity per year.

Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Assistant Professor Paul Roundy analyzes how rainfall organizes in the tropics and influences the global atmosphere through generation of rain- related heat. His forecast products track the evolution of various types of these tropical weather systems. Several firms looking to invest in natural gas now use his information to help predict the likelihood of above or below normal temperatures for regions in the U.S. and Europe. Such weather information is also important for companies working in the renewable energy sector such as Albany-based AWS Truepower, a UAlbany research partner. In the case of wind and solar power, for example, it is crucial to have information about wind and sunshine respectively and scientists in both DAES and ASRC contribute to the research that deals with this.