Solar energy is an important source of clean, and renewable energy. There has been extensive investment, research and development in this field with the objective of maximizing efficiency and output power from solar cells (at the device level) to solar farms (at the system-level). Regardless of the aforementioned efforts, there exist two fundamental issues with solar energy- First, spatial, seasonal, and diurnal variation in sunlight intensity leading to non-uniform source of energy. Storing solar energy in various other forms of energy (e.g. chemical, mechanical, gravitational) provides a solution to this challenge. Second, solar energy is still not cost competitive all over the world. Therefore, new modules (bifacial), and new platforms (floating) are being considered to take advantage of location-specific resources. Geography-optimized PV is our best hope for the future. In this talk, I will address these issues, discuss the associated challenges and briefly conclude with the approach towards solving the system-level optimization problems.
Muhammed Tahir Patel is a Graduate Research Assistant pursuing his PhD at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University. He graduated from IIT Bombay with a B.Tech and M.Tech in electrical engineering with specialization in Microelectronics. He then joined the ALAM CEED group in 2016 and is currently working with Professor Ashraf Alam on storage solutions, energy maximization and reliability issues of solar energy farms. Apart from solar photovoltaics, his research interests also include semiconductor device physics, organic electronics and nano-bio-technology. He is a Honda YES Awardee, and a KVPY scholar.