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A History of Energy Programs

A History Of Energy: School of Engineering Energy Programs

Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering has a long history of involvement in sustainable energy studies. Nearly fifty years ago, we put solar panels on a Santa Clara city building; in the 1960s, research began in electric power; and in the '70s, faculty and students researched the use of methanol as a fuel supplement for automobiles.

More recently, our success in the 2007 and 2009 U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon competitions—3rd place finishes in both international contests—has spurred our activity in this burgeoning field. Lively collaboration among several departments within the School has resulted in a number of new courses being offered in alternative energies, fuel cell management, power electronics, and photovoltaic cells. In partnership with industry and government collaborators, cutting-edge research is focusing on the economics of solar PV in the residential market, the development of a carbon credit meter to create a revenue stream from the carbon market established by California’s landmark legislation SB32, and the viability of new Plug & Play technologies.

We are committed to educating ethical, proficient engineers to lead the way to a sustainable future. New courses are being developed each quarter, and a graduate certificate in renewable energy and a multi-disciplinary master’s degree in sustainable energy are now available to prepare Silicon Valley’s professionals to meet the changing demands in energy and to fulfill a pressing need in the rapidly growing renewable energy market in our Valley and in the world.

A history of energy programs

An engineering student in an electric car in 1978. Photo from SCU Archives.