Technical Track: PV, Thermal, and Storage


Tom Thompson

Session Description:

This Technical track will feature eight (8), vignette presentations by some of the solar industry’s leading pioneers & rising stars.  The speakers will cover topics as focused and diverse as utility scale applications (robotic & organic O&M strategies), post-COVID permitting platforms & performance optimization for residential PV system, solar thermal & geothermal storage applications for heating and cooling of buildings in northern climates, stabilization technologies for next gen Perovskite solar cell technologies and stress management for high temperature energy storage designs.


Jun 25 2020


10:45 am - 12:15 pm




  • Amelia Amon
    Amelia Amon

    Amelia Amon is a solar designer with an aesthetic approach to integrating sustainable energy into our built environment. Her design studio, Alt.Technica, develops products and installations, including solar charging stations, Dark-sky compliant solar lighting, exhibits for science museums & environmental centers such as Liberty Science Center, PA Sustainable Development Fund, Long Island Children’s Museum, and NY SunWorks Science Barge, System equipment for the NYSERDA, Solar trackers for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Fountains for the Smithsonian Institute National Design Museum at Cooper-Hewitt, Solar freezer carts for Ben & Jerry’s.

    Presentation Title: Bringing Life to Solar Farms

    Description: If photovoltaic installations are to take up the acreage required to produce sufficient energy for a low-carbon future, we need to work with our fellow earthlings. Local birds, insects, and wildlife co-evolved with native plants and so need them for continued sustenance. Books, scientific papers, and lectures by Douglas Tallamy, Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, have revolutionized current landscaping practice. We’ll discuss and show examples of how with thoughtful planting, but little additional maintenance, solar farms can become beautiful ecological wonderlands of vibrant life.

  • Ash Ragheb
    Ash Ragheb
    Lawrence Technological University

    Ash Ragheb is an Associate Professor at Lawrence Technological University in the College of Architecture and Design. Dr. Ragheb’s research focuses on building systems integration, energy efficiency, the integration of renewable energy technologies in design, environmental sustainability esp. reducing building environmental impact, often using quantitative methods, computer simulation, and Life Cycle Assessment LCA as methods. His research on environmental profiling of buildings using LCA has been funded by AIA prestigious UpJohn grant in 2009. He has published numerous peer reviewed papers in national and international conferences and journals including ARCC, ASES, PLEA, Int’l J of LCA

    Presentation Title: A Mitigation Framework for Dust Problems on PV Modules in the U.S. Climatic Zones

    Description: The work introduces self cleaning/maintenance cycle for PV systems in response to the prevalent climatic and environmental conditions in the U.S. different climatic zones.

  • Everett Barber
    Everett Barber

    Currently writing a design guide for commercial and industrial, low and medium temperature, solar thermal systems; 2010 co-authored “Convert Your Home to Solar Energy:” a consumer’s guide to solar energy, publisher, The Taunton Press; 1972- 1998 Yale University, School of Architecture: Associate Professor (adjunct) of Environmental Technologies. Coordinated Environmental Technologies curriculum; 1973 founded Sunworks, Inc. to market and manufacture flat plate solar heat collectors; 1966-1973 Research Engineer, National Bureau of Standards, Center for Building Technology: conducted mathematical and experimental studies of the thermal performance of buildings.

    Presentation Title: Long Term Output Deterioration of Grid-Tied PV Systems

    Description: The output of grid-tied pv systems deteriorates over time. This is a long term effort to determine that rate of deterioration, and to identify some of its causes.

  • Gaylord Olson
    Gaylord Olson
    Seasonal Storage Technologies

    Gaylord Olson is an independent consultant and inventor with engineering degrees from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and UCLA. He is a member of the Industrial Advisory Committee for Mechanical Engineering at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is the inventor or co-inventor of 12 patents with several patents pending related to underground thermal energy storage and solar thermal energy collection. He is a member of the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, the American Solar Energy Society, New York Geothermal Energy Organization, and Northeast Sustainable Energy Association.

    Presentation Title: New Ways to Combine Solar Thermal with Geothermal

    Description: A more efficient and less costly method for heating and cooling of buildings is possible using any of several types of solar thermal collectors along with a geothermal heat pump.

  • Jeff Cook
    Jeff Cook
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory

    Jeffrey J. Cook is a renewable energy market and policy analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He has been on staff at NREL since 2014, and focuses on state and local policy, resilience, technology cost reduction, and distributed energy resource aggregation. He received his PhD in political science from Colorado State University in 2017, where he was an instructor of environmental and public policy courses. He received his Master of Science in environmental science and policy from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay in 2012.

    Presentation Title: Cutting Permitting Red Tape with the SolarAPP

    Description: With more than 2 million distributed photovoltaic (PV) systems expected to be installed over the next five years, local permitting and inspection processes may become overburdened. Every week of permitting delay correlates with increased customer cancellation rates of 5 – 10% that can result in sunk costs reaching $7,000 per system. NREL is developing the Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP) Platform to streamline permitting and inspection processes. This presentation will describe the need for the software, a discussion of how the platform will work, and an open dialogue with participants to gain input on how to improve the SolarAPP.

  • Qiuhua Duan
    Qiuhua Duan
    Pennsylvania State University

    Qiuhua Duan is pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Architectural Engineering Department at the Pennsylvania State University. She has been working as a Graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Julian Wang for the last 3 years. Qiuhua current research interests are sustainable design which combines experimental works on building technologies, computational modeling and simulation.

    Presentation Title: Statistical Modeling of Near Infrared Solar Radiation for Building Simulation Use

    Description: Incoming solar radiation is a key factor influencing energy-efficient building design. It determines the thermal regime of the building envelope and affects the solar heat transfer between indoor and outdoor from the windows. Regulating window transmission, absorption, and reflection properties to control the passage of solar radiation in these ranges can significantly improve building energy efficiency. Moreover, NIR radiation at the surface is less investigated compared with UV and VIS; and the independent manipulation of solar NIR has become viable in recent years since various new spectrally selective nanomaterials and structures have been developed. However, the key challenge is that the weather file we are using for most building simulation program does not include the spectral details but rather the broadband solar information. Therefore, the need for an accurate representation of NIR radiation has become acute since there is evidence that the current uncertainty in this quantity has important consequences for saving energy of the buildings. In this study, using available hourly and daily solar irradiance data obtained from Solar the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) website at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), statistical models of NIR with a function of hourly average total hemispherical, direct normal beam solar radiation, and other weather data such as temperature and humidity are established. Results obtained reveal that the proposed predict hourly and daily values accurately. Also, a framework of using the developed model in the building simulation work is developed and illustrated.

  • Zhenzhen Yu
    Zhenzhen Yu
    Colorado School of Mines

    Prof. Zhenzhen Yu is an assistant professor in the department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (MME) at Colorado School of Mines (CSM), and the Director of the Center for Joining, Welding and Coatings Research (CWJCR). She received MS and PhD degrees from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and B.S. degree from Mechanical Engineering at East China University of Science and Technology. Her research focuses on weld metallurgy, development of similar/dissimilar joining technologies, weld consumables design, and simulation and characterization of transient material states. She received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development CAREER Award in 2019.

    Presentation Title: Mitigation of Stress Relaxation Cracking in 347 Stainless Steel Welds

    Description: The welds of 347 stainless steel (SS) thermal energy storage (TES) tanks in 2nd generation (Gen2) concentrating solar plants (CSP) are potentially susceptible to stress relaxation cracking (SRC) at service temperatures above 565oC. SRC is induced by the combination of high tensile residual stress, susceptible microstructure, and high service temperature. In this study, two SRC mitigation approaches were evaluated including design and optimization of post weld heat treatment (PWHT) procedure for reduction of residual stress and stabilizing the microstructure, and replacing 347SS with an alternative 316L SS with extreme low carbon concentration for elimination of carbides reprecipitation. Physical thermomechanical simulations, using Gleeble 3500, is used to determine the time to failure as a function of stress, pre-strain and temperature for weldment microstructures. In addition, finite-element modeling (FEM) in conjunction with neutron diffraction was used to obtain the residual stress distribution before and after PWHT. Metallographic characterizations were performed in the thermomechanical specimens to reveal SRC susceptible microstructures. The combination of metallurgical characterization, thermomechanical simulations, and FEM assist to optimize the welding and PWHT conditions for SRC mitigation and prolong the weld life of Gen2 CSP TES tanks.

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