This doctoral engineering student is a rising star in solar energy

Gowri Sriramagiri is one of six women nationwide to be selected for the 2018 Rising Women SPI Fellowship from Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE) and GRID Alternatives.

“The fellowship is an opportunity for women from diverse backgrounds who are interested in solar careers to visit Solar Power International (SPI) for networking, mentorship and solar education,” according to a press release announcing the award. The Solar Power International 2018 Conference and Exhibition was held in Anaheim, California on September 26, 2018.

Sriramagiri is a doctoral student in electrical engineering and studies solar cells at the Institute of Energy Conversion. She has always been interested in sustainability and rode her bike to middle school because it was the eco-friendly option. Her passion for solar energy, and the study of photovoltaics, ignited when she was an undergraduate student majoring in electrical engineering. “I made up my mind to participate in solar research, and since the Institute of Energy Conversion is the oldest research institute dedicated to solar cell research, I knew I wanted to study here,” Sriramagiri said.

At the Solar Power International conference, she had a chance to speak with industrial contacts in the energy sector, from utilities, solar manufacturing and installation companies, smart energy, energy storage, and hydrogen fuel cells. “It is especially encouraging seeing solar energy adopted as a mainstream energy resource by individuals and utilities alike,” she said. “It reinforces this idea that the research we do in the lab for efficiency enhancement and cost-cutting has direct and significant impact in the real world.”

She was well prepared to converse with these experts. “Working at a dedicated solar research institute like the Institute of Energy Conversion at UD, I was very fortunate to work with experts in various topics of photovoltaics,” she said. “The quality of training I received here and the breadth of the knowledge I gained were excellent. In addition to working in the lab on research-scale devices, we were also encouraged to be practical and application-oriented in our approach.”