Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Citralina Haruo - College of Menominee Nation
Co-Author(s): Rickie Dodge and Taylor Oudenhoven, College of Menominee Nation
Hypothesis Statement and Why the Research is Important: Solar energy is important to Native Americans. Tribal reservations, which account for about 2% of the area in the US, have a rural, utility scale solar generation potential that can contribute 5.1% of total U.S. generation potential (Office of Indian Energy, 2013). Because solar energy is important to Native Americans, this research aims to better understand variables relating to the performance of solar panels. Specifically, the purpose of the study was to compare the two leading solar cell technologies, monocrystalline and polycrystalline, to challenge industry equality assumptions. This research is important for accurately estimating roof mounted solar electricity over time.
Methods and Controls: This research utilizes data from the College of Menominee Nation’s Solar Energy Research Institute (Keshena, WI). Performance comparisons are made between 2 different types of solar energy technology, including Monocrystalline Silicon and Polycrystalline Silicon, over a period from April 2014 through January 2017.
Results: On average, the polycrystalline cells performed better in North Eastern Wisconsin.
Conclusions and Future Research: Despite what industry standards would indicate, preliminary analysis suggests polycrystalline cells perform better in comparison to monocrystalline cells in northeastern Wisconsin. The assumption made by other solar energy calculators that both of these technologies performance is equivalent is inconsistent with the findings. Thus, it is recommended that the industry standard provides an option is available to choose between Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline. This also begs the questions: 1.) How do these different cell technologies behave in other climates? 2.) When is it best to use Monocrystalline cells? When is it best to use Polycrystalline cells? 3.) What factors affect one cell technology to perform better than another?
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF-TCUP; NASA-ESTEEM.
Faculty Advisor: Lisa Bosman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: Data Analysis