For the entire summer five students worked with Schneider Electric’s engineering team to evaluate several financial models for the solar, storage and EV charging micro-grid projects. They explored a variety of modelling tools and compared the model outputs for their clients including Northwestern’s facilities, Argonne National Laboratory and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. This project would deliver huge benefits such as energy savings, tax benefits and reduced CO2 emissions by harnessing renewable energy sources and ‘green initiative/ sustainability’ tag for the customer.
We had the opportunity to follow-up with the team of five who delivered their final presentation on August 4th to share some of their key takeaways and leanings from their summer experience.
MEM: Can you share with us some of your major challenges and opportunities discovered while working on this project?
TEAM: The biggest challenges faced by us was understanding the context and nature of work as the team had little to no background in the energy sphere. Additionally, being housed remotely, collaborating with mentors and clients from other geographic locations posed some challenges. However, the project helped us to understand the energy markets, how renewable energy in conjunction with conventional energy helps to reduce the energy costs for the customers. We also had the opportunity to network with people from the industry to gain insights.
MEM: After analyzing customer data to gather your recommendations for clients, what are some things you learned from this opportunity?
TEAM: The biggest learning was to recognize and acknowledge that each individual brings in a different set of experience, skill set and thought process. We learned to channelize our differences to supplement our strengths.
MEM: As individuals, what do you feel you gained from this experience?
Sachin: This is my first customer facing role after being a design engineer for a good part of three years. My biggest take away is the learning curve associated with interacting with customers on the business side of engineering. True to the MEM curriculum, this project was hands on experience in the business side of engineering
Hemant: Through this project I was introduced to the energy sector which was different from my past professional experience. I understood the dynamics of this sector and how micro-grids will play a vital role in future.
Swapnil: Coming from a manufacturing background, I had an opportunity to learn about the energy industry and its key drivers. I plan to implement these learning in my manufacturing plant back home to make it more energy efficient.
Abhimanyu: With roots in automotive product development background, this was my first opportunity into the world of energy consulting. I am a energy enthusiast at heart so it was an extremely rewarding experience to learn about micro-grids, distributed energy resources and various micro-grid modelling tools. Going ahead, I hope this opportunity will help me to pivot my career into energy consulting.
Vignesh: The project has taught me the growing importance of micro-grids. With MEM’s curriculum I had the right opportunity to put my engineering and entrepreneurship skills to contribute efficiently with the team and successfully complete the project.
This team of five did an awesome job with their presentation and learned much about the energy sector and putting their MEM degree to the test!