Mariflor Caronan was born and raised in the Philippines and has lived on O’ahu for the past two years. She graduated from Waipahu High School in 2010. She is entering her sophomore year at Northern Arizona University, where she is majoring in Electrical Engineering. In her spare time, Mariflor enjoys listening to music, hanging out with friends, snowboarding, singing, and drawing.
Home Island: O‘ahu
High School: Waipahu High School
Institute when accepted: Northern Arizona University
A Debris Mitigation Study for a Commercial Solar Panel Installation
Project Site: HNu Photonics LLC
Mentor: Richard Puga
In December 2010, HNu Photonics installed and began operation of 550 solar panels at Pi’ilani Shopping Center on the island of Maui. The project includes a 20-year period of monitoring and maintenance of all systems with future improvements. HNu Photonics recommends that the arrays be cleaned twice per year, due to the dry and dusty climate of the system location. As dirt accumulates on top of each panel, power output will slowly decrease, adversely affecting any systems that depend upon the generated energy. The purpose of this study is to analyze the panels’ power output and determine how the power is affected by the amount of dirt on the modules. Before cleaning the panels, the total, average, and peak power generated per day were monitored and recorded for 30 days. After collecting these baseline data, each of seven different locations of solar panel installations will receive a cleaning method recommended by the solar panels’ manufacturer. By doing this, we expect to find measurable improvements in the panels’ performance, as well as differences in improvement between the seven locations, so we will be able to better understand performance degradation due to dust particles. This study can be applied to develop a customized cleaning method for each solar panel location that minimizes cost and time, as some locations tend to accumulate more dust and debris than others.