(Mentor: Dr. Victor Donnay, Bryn Mawr College)
Research Project: Energy sustainability is an important issue in our world today. As the energy needs of the world is increasing, more and more people are trying to reduce their environmental footprints by trying to become sustainable in terms of energy usage. One of the prominent ways of resorting to sustainable energy is by using the most powerful energy sources of all—solar energy. One of the research projects that I focused on this summer was related to solar energy and solar panels.
The opportunity cost of switching to solar energy is different for different people. It mostly depends on where we are located and what our needs are. Most people are likely to switch to solar energy due to environmental concerns. However, there are various factors that affect the payback of switching to solar energy.
There are many things one needs to be mindful of when deciding to install solar panels. The placement (solar array must be placed at an angle that will best capture the most direct sunlight), the sunlight intensity (which is highly affected by the weather), the latitude (how close the place is from the equator), technology (how efficient the solar panel is) and temperature are some very important factors to take into consideration.