Avoiding a Graveyard of Solar Panels: How to make Solar Electric Systems Sustainable


Solar electric systems offer the opportunity to provide electricity to communities that do not have access to electricity. However, there are many examples of well-intentioned systems being installed and then not being sustained. This leads to many solar panels not contributing to electricity production in these remote communities. In this talk, we will present strategies based on our experiences in the field to make solar electric systems long term sustainable so that communities can continue to receive the benefits of electricity for the long term.  


Dr. Pritpal Singh is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Villanova University. He has been teaching and performing research in solar energy for over 40 years. He also works with students on the design and application of technologies for sustainable development. He ran his own solar business in India for five years and has consulted for the US Department of Energy and three private companies on solar electric systems. He has worked with UNICEF in Nicaragua, Burundi and Zimbabwe and has recently worked on renewable energy and connectivity projects in Ecuador. He served as the IEEE SIGHT Education Subcommittee Chair from 2017 – 2019 and is presently the Vice President of the IEE Smart Village Education Committee. He served as the Technical Chair for the 2020 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) and will serve as Co-Chair and host of the 2023 IEEE GHTC Conference. He was recently awarded the IFEES Duncan Fraser Global Award for Excellence in Engineering Education.

Presentation date: 17 April 2023