Illustration by Christine Hipp.
Illustration by Christine Hipp.

UCSC professor of physics Sue Carter has long fought to keep solar-generated sustainable energy a viable technology. Last month, Carter was elected chair of the American Physical Society’s Topical Group on Energy Research and Applications (GERA) — an organization focused on the safe generation, transmission and use of energy with a minimal impact upon the earth’s environment.

“While the cost of solar energy has been significantly lowered over the last few years,” Carter said, “one of the main remaining arguments against solar energy is that it takes up more land per energy produced than fossil-fuel technologies.”

Carter has been hard at work researching the possible use of solar panel crop covers. Ideally, the covers will promote plant growth, reduce water consumption and pesticide use and generate renewable electricity.

“The solutions to the world’s energy challenges are solvable,” Carter said.

Carter’s message to the campus generates its own energy.
“Believe in your abilities and be persistent in pursuing your goals,” Carter said. “It is okay, and even commendable, to focus on what you can do for society rather than what you want society to do for you.”