Solar energy engineering and commercialization (PSM)

Applied project

Applied project

An Applied Research Project is the culmination at the end of the solar energy and commercialization PSM. The goal of this six-credit hour project, advised by a faculty advisor and an industry advisor, is to address a relevant solar energy research problem.

Format and Topics

Topics for the project must be related to solar energy and lead to a paper suitable for a conference publication, but don’t have to be limited to engineering-oriented projects.

Have an interest in solar energy policy or behavioral science? Anything that impacts the application of solar energy or economic models can be covered. Here’s a rundown of the required output:

  • a 30-45 minute presentation in front of the student’s faculty/industry committee
  • final report that describes not only the problem and its solution, it also explains how the project was conducted and what lessons were learned regarding best practices for applied projects

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Because the applied project research results need not be published, any potential intellectual property may be negotiated directly between the student and their industrial advisor.

Click the links below to see samples of applied project reports:

Author Title

Jared Falls

Marc Hensel

Athena Combs-Hurtado

Phuoc Tri Le

Fang Li

Bahram Emami

Vincent Mazzone

Elijah Winston

Sage Lopez, P.E.

Solar-Powered Temperature Control for Military Housing in the Middle East

City of Tempe Community Solar Opportunities

Sustainable Structures


Evaluation of a Specific Microgrid PV System for Implementation in Vietnam

Optimization-Based Cost Saving with Demand-Side Management in a Microgrid

Virtual Power Plant: Modeling and Calculating Capacity Value for PV Systems in the Southwest Region

How Healthy is the Solar Industry? 


Launching a Concept: The Solar Shelter

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
Solar N3E: A Philippine-Based Social Enterprise Model
Design, Commissioning and Monitoring of a 2 KW PV system w.r.t. IEC Standards and NEC
Detection Analysis of Defects in Solar Cell/Module Using Image Processing
A Website to Summarize Indian Solar Policies and Create Public Awareness
Community Solar: How Will it Unfold?
Model Storage Sizing and Usage to Optimize Storage Use to Balance PV Consumption and/or Reduce Utility Costs by Reducing Peak Demand Usage and Assorted Charges.
Monitor Thermal Tests on Micro-Inverters and DC Optimizers
Monitoring Soiling on Utility-Scale Power Plants
PV Training Platform for Homeowners
Evaluation and Comparison of Different Micro-Grid and Energy Storage Modeling Software
Distribution of Solar PV Generated Power to the Rural Off-Grid Locations in India Using Railways as a Platform for Generation and Transportation
Micro-Inverter Based PV System
Green Sports Complex
Solar Propellant Pump System Trade Study for the Nuclear Thermal Propulsion System Design by NASA
Economic Feasibility Analysis of Developing Large-Scale PV Solar Projects in Valle del Yaqui, Sonora, Mexico
Comparative Study on LCOE of Fixed Tilt c-Si PV System and 1-Axis Tracking CIGS Pv System at Residential Scale
Market Research and Product Development for Flexible Short-Term Leases for Standardized, Modular, High-Performance Residential Rooftop Solar Systems
Design and Economic Analysis of a Stand-Alone PV Residential System for Off-Grid Rural Locations
Solar Powered Bus Stop
Solar Air Conditioning
Natural Power & Energy: Solar Made Easy (Incorporates solar engineering, financial forecasting and graphic user-interface design)
Business Potential in Distributed Solar Thermal with Natural Gas Backup
Assessing the Feasibility of a Photovoltaic Fuel Cell Hybrid System for Sustainable Off-Grid Power Generation
Forecasting Model for Material Demands and Personnel Requirements
Developing an Utility Business Model for Community Solar
Hypothetical Request for Proposal for Financial Analysis and Implementation of Commercial Solar-Covered Parking Structure
Grid-tied PV system with battery storage for biology field research station in Puerto Williams, Chile.
An educational system for developing-world solar technicians
Increasing concentrated solar power viability through energy market and financial mechanisms
Examination of deregulation and the renewable portfolio standard in Arizona
Shadow influence on thin film VS Crystalline Silicon PV Modules
Solar energy solutions for microbreweries
Design, construction and testing of a scaled proof-of-concept solar thermal rocket engine
Project development feasibility for potential installation of a Power Parasol.
Evolution of the Grid Edge: The Economics of Energy Storage for Stand-Alone Systems
Financing Solar for Rural Areas
The PIP Box: Enhancing String Inverter Performance
PV Module Reliability Through Image Processing
Influence of Soiling, Performance Ratio & Performance Index on Solar PV’s Energy Production
Performance Evaluation of CIGS Modules at Different Field Operating Conditions
Pay-for-Performance: A Transitional Model
Community Solar Program Design
Solar Powered Automated Irrigation System to Maximize Efficiency of Water Use in Urban Community Gardens