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Understanding the Social Value of Solar Energy Production in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area

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With an abundance of sunshine, the state of Arizona has the potential for producing large amounts of solar energy. However, in recent years Arizona has also become the focal point in a political battle to determine the value and future

With an abundance of sunshine, the state of Arizona has the potential for producing large amounts of solar energy. However, in recent years Arizona has also become the focal point in a political battle to determine the value and future of residential solar energy fees, which has critical implications for distributed generation. As the debate grows, it is clear that solar policies developed in Arizona will influence other state regulators regarding their solar rate structures and Net Energy Metering; however, there is a hindrance in the progress of this discussion due to the varying frameworks of the stakeholders involved. For this project, I set out to understand and analyze why the different stakeholders have such conflicting viewpoints. Some groups interpret energy as a financial and technological object while others view it is an inherently social and political issue. I conducted research in three manners: 1) I attended public meetings, 2) hosted interviews, and 3) analyzed reports and studies on the value of solar. By using the SRP 2015 Rate Case as my central study, I will discuss how these opposing viewpoints do or do not incorporate various forms of justice such as distributive, participatory, and recognition justice. In regards to the SRP Rate Case, I will look at both the utility- consumer relationship and the public meeting processes in which they interact, in addition to the pricing plans. This work reveals that antiquated utility structures and a lack of participation and recognition justice are hindering the creation of policy changes that satisfy both the needs of the utilities and the community at large.

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2015-12

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Application and study of water oxidation catalysts and molecular dyes for solar-fuel production

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Developing a system capable of using solar energy to drive the conversion of an abundant and available precursor to fuel would profoundly impact humanity's energy use and thereby the condition of the global ecosystem. Such is the goal of artificial

Developing a system capable of using solar energy to drive the conversion of an abundant and available precursor to fuel would profoundly impact humanity's energy use and thereby the condition of the global ecosystem. Such is the goal of artificial photosynthesis: to convert water to hydrogen using solar radiation as the sole energy input and ideally do so with the use of low cost, abundant materials. Constructing photoelectrochemical cells incorporating photoanodes structurally reminiscent of those used in dye sensitized photovoltaic solar cells presents one approach to establishing an artificial photosynthetic system. The work presented herein describes the production, integration, and study of water oxidation catalysts, molecular dyes, and metal oxide based photoelectrodes carried out in the pursuit of developing solar water splitting systems.

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Date Created
2013

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Molecules for energy and charge transfer for biomimetic systems: synthesis, characterization and computational studies

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Sunlight, the most abundant source of energy available, is diffuse and intermittent; therefore it needs to be stored in chemicals bonds in order to be used any time. Photosynthesis converts sunlight into useful chemical energy that organisms can use for

Sunlight, the most abundant source of energy available, is diffuse and intermittent; therefore it needs to be stored in chemicals bonds in order to be used any time. Photosynthesis converts sunlight into useful chemical energy that organisms can use for their functions. Artificial photosynthesis aims to use the essential chemistry of natural photosynthesis to harvest solar energy and convert it into fuels such as hydrogen gas. By splitting water, tandem photoelectrochemical solar cells (PESC) can produce hydrogen gas, which can be stored and used as fuel. Understanding the mechanisms of photosynthesis, such as photoinduced electron transfer, proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) and energy transfer (singlet-singlet and triplet-triplet) can provide a detailed knowledge of those processes which can later be applied to the design of artificial photosynthetic systems. This dissertation has three main research projects. The first part focuses on design, synthesis and characterization of suitable photosensitizers for tandem cells. Different factors that can influence the performance of the photosensitizers in PESC and the attachment and use of a biomimetic electron relay to a water oxidation catalyst are explored. The second part studies PCET, using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and computational chemistry to elucidate the structure and stability of tautomers that comprise biomimetic electron relays, focusing on the formation of intramolecular hydrogen bonds. The third part of this dissertation uses computational calculations to understand triplet-triplet energy transfer and the mechanism of quenching of the excited singlet state of phthalocyanines in antenna models by covalently attached carotenoids.

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2016