Capturing the Sun

Orion Leland

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Orion Leland is a senior majoring in physics studying how the power of the sun can be captured to generate electricity in a more economical manner. What he has built, under the direction of his professor, Dr. Scott Severson, and in partnership with SolFocus of Mountainview, is a solar collector that works much like a magnifying glass, concentrating the light of the sun onto small photovoltaic cells instead of large panels. Advanced technology such as this will be used to power the remotely-controlled telescope Sonoma State University is planning to construct at its Galbreath Wildlands Preserve near Booneville, CA. Dr. Severson has founded an astronomical instrumentation laboratory at Sonoma State and is developing an “adaptive optics” system that uses advanced moveable mirrors to give the telescope a uniquely clear image.

Orion Leland and Dr. Severson

“Orion’s work on this shows a commitment to make the world a better place through innovative technological solutions, and our commitment as Sonoma State educators to enable this kind of advanced study,” says Dr. Severson.

The solar collector is being tested and perfected and may someday help reduce the need for expensive photovoltaic panels.