Sarthak Gupta, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
One of the biggest impediments to the spread of domestic solar photovoltaic (PV) energy in the United States is lack of public awareness – a lot of people tend to think it is unsuitable for their house without looking at the numbers. In the summer of 2013, I worked at Climate Central developing a solar electricity forecasting tool that aims to address this issue. The tool not only calculates the average monthly electricity production for a specified U.S. location and panel size, but also tries to predict the output for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow using a cloud cover regression. Working out of the Princeton, NJ headquarters of Climate Central, I was responsible for both the PV energy research and web development aspects of the project. On the research side, I gained a detailed understanding of the chain of PV energy conversions and loss mechanisms. On the web development side, I acquired a number of skills including efficient data handling, server side development and front-end design. My time at Climate Central reaffirmed my decision to pursue a career in renewable energy and provided some great senior thesis ideas!