Applied Project

The program’s culminating experience is a 6-credit-hour Applied Research project.  The Applied Project

topics must be related to solar energy and must be of sufficient rigor as to lead to a paper suitable for a conference publication. The applied project is completed under the guidance of a faculty advisor and an industry advisor.

We will not limit ourselves to engineering-oriented projects.  Rather, some projects could focus on subjects such as solar energy policy, behavioral science that impacts the application of solar energy, economic models of distributed solar power generation, etc.  In all cases, the required output from each student will be the following:

    • a 20-minute presentation in front of the student’s faculty/industry committee
    • an 8-page, 2-column-format report suitable for conference publication (following ASME conference publication format)
The goal is not to encumber the student with the requirement to prepare a fully documented thesis, but instead to get the student to address a relevant solar energy research problem and generate the documentation required for disseminating the project results.

Because the applied project research results need not be published, any potential intellectual property may be negotiated directly between the student and their industrial advisor.


Samples of applied project reports can be found by clicking the links in the table below:


Author Title
Sage Lopez, P.E. Sunshine Acres Children’s Home: Solar Planning and Monitoring
Dhanunjaya Mantena Addressing California’s Flexible Capacity Needs with Concentrated Solar Power and Thermal Energy Storage
James McCall Strategies for Local Governments to Promote Solar
Tyler Pearce Sunshine Acres Children’s Home: Solar Array System Monitoring and Maintenance
Louis Woofenden An Educational System for Developing World Solar Technicians



Examples of some applied projects completed to date are listed in the table below:


Applied Project Industrial Advisor
Solar Powered Bus Stop City of Mesa
Solar Air Conditioning TUV Rheinland
Natural Power & Energy: Solar Made Easy (Incorporates solar engineering, financial forecasting and graphic user-interface design) Natural Power & Energy
Business Potential in Distributed Solar Thermal with Natural Gas Backup TUV Rheinland/Flux Energy
Assessing the Feasibility of a Photovoltaic Fuel Cell Hybrid System for Sustainable Off-Grid Power Generation Intel
Forecasting Model for Material Demands and Personnel Requirements First Solar
Developing an Utility Business Model for Community Solar Arizona Public Service
Hypothetical Request for Proposal for Financial Analysis and Implementation of Commercial Solar-Covered Parking Structure Costco
Grid-tied PV system with battery storage for biology field research station in Puerto Williams, Chile. Flux Energy
An educational system for developing-world solar technicians FLUX Energy
Increasing concentrated solar power viability through energy market and financial mechanisms Abengoa Solar
Examination of deregulation and the renewable portfolio standard in Arizona Arizona Public Interest Research Group
Shadow influence on thin film VS Crystalline Silicon PV Modules  
Solar energy solutions for microbreweries Sun Valley Solar
Design, construction and testing of a scaled proof-of-concept solar thermal rocket engine Flux Energy
Project development feasibility for potential installation of a Power Parasol. Strategic Solar
Evolution of the Grid Edge: The Economics of Energy Storage for Stand-Alone Systems New Grid Power
Financing Solar for Rural Areas Kyocera Solar
The PIP Box: Enhancing String Inverter Performance Natural Power and Energy
PV Module Reliability Through Image Processing TUV Rheinland
Influence of Soiling, Performance Ratio & Performance Index on Solar PV’s Energy Production TUV Rheinland
Performance Evaluation of CIGS Modules at Different Field Operating Conditions TUV Rheinland
Pay-for-Performance: A Transitional Model High Performance PV
Community Solar Program Design Solar Electric Power Association
Solar Powered Automated Irrigation System to Maximize Efficiency of Water Use in Urban Community Gardens TUV rehinland