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‚Äėahu
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

Project Abstract:

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.