Kaila Roffman is currently an undergraduate student studying Material Science and Engineering. She is an intern at the Rutgers Energy Institute for the summer of 2015, working with Professor Dunbar Birnie, Corning Saint- Gobain Malcolm G. McLaren Chair in Ceramic Engineering, on solar power systems.
1: Please briefly describe your research. My research focuses on modeling Extraterrestrial Irradiance (ETR), Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI), and Local Marginal Pricing (LMP) in order to understand the potential effects of implementing a battery into a solar array, such as the one on Livingston campus. ETR is the amount of irradiation reaching a location outside the atmosphere, whereas GHI is the amount which reaches the surface of the Earth (thus taking into account things like cloud cover). LMP is the instantaneous cost of electricity for a given location. My research intends to model ETR as a baseline model for GHI, and to use the ultimate GHI model in order to understand optimum times of available solar energy, and to use it as a predictive model for when that energy may be better or worse than current energy. Furthermore, this would be combined with an understanding of an LMP model, such that we may be able to most efficiently and profitably buy and sell back energy using a theoretical battery in an array. In combination, the GHI and LMP model may be used to optimize the implementation of a battery into an array in order to make back money and minimize the effects of variability in available sunlight.
2: How did you come to be involved in this research?I knew I wanted to do research over the summer, so I began looking into options through Rutgers. I’d always had a strong interest in alternative energy, and I discovered Dr. Birnie was doing research which greatly interested me. After discussing such, we decided to work together with the support of REI.
3: Where do you see your research fitting into our energy future?The end goal of this research is to understand the effects of the implementation of a battery into a solar array. It is hoped that ultimately this may be used in order to push Rutgers towards integrating a battery in the Livingston array. Understanding the effects of a battery, both with respect to energy stabilization and reliability, as well as financially, allows for a stronger argument to take advantage of the growing movement to add batteries into solar arrays. Modeling Solar Energy and electricity costs has countless applications for alternative energy, and it is hoped that this research may be used to strengthen the argument for the implementation of batteries into solar array systems.