Mary Liang was born and raised on O’ahu.  She is currently attending the University of Hawai‘i at M?noa, pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering.  She plans to graduate in Fall 2007.

Home Island: Oahu
High School:
Institution when accepted: University of Hawaii at Manoa

Akamai Project: Characteristics of Solar Panels

Project Site: Hnu Photonics

Mentor: Dan O’Connell

Project Abstract:

Alternative energy has been a field of interest for years.  Solar power is a vast supply of energy that could decrease the world’s dependence on oil.  h? Photonics is a company that is in research and development in the latest technology for solar panels.  The goal of this project was to build a portable solar-cell module and test kit in order to test the panel under different conditions.  The test kit consisted of a volt and current meter, solar flux meter, and a temperature probe.  The system had a solar panel, an active cooling plate, a test kit, a resistive load box for testing, and a mechanical tracker.  Data for current, voltage, power, and temperature from the solar panel was taken to predict behavior. A tracker was made to follow the sun and allowed the maximum number of photons to enter the solar panel.  The heat generated by the solar panels caused the efficiency to decrease, which was undesirable.  A cooling system was designed to control the temperature of the solar cells. The cooling system increased the efficiency, which decreased the loss of current.  The portable solar panel was tested in different conditions to collect information to find the optimal conditions for a solar panel.  The data collected was used to understand and to improve the design.  The cooling system and tracker increased the efficiency of the solar panel.