Solar Campus had a very technical project, so its biggest challenge was conveying to a group of non-experts the basics of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) energy and the effect that temperature has on a CPV cell. The team realized that three years ago, none of its members knew anything about this topic either. Therefore, the approach the team took was to share the progression of the team’s research and how it eventually reached the topic of CPV cooling. The team also realized that no matter how impactful its results were, if nobody understood the background, nobody would understand the impact. Therefore, half the presentation was dedicated to explaining the complexities of photovoltaic technology and heat transfer in a way that made sense to the non-engineer. The other half explained the methodology and results and reiterated the final impact of the research multiple times to make sure the point was clear.
Before starting on the presentation slides, though, the team scripted out word for word what needed to be said and in what order. This helped put the proper amount of information in the brief time allotted, prevented rambling and repetition, and also made compiling the slides very simple. With a script in hand, all that was needed was what visuals the speaker wanted displayed behind them to help convey the message. This process is the reverse of what many teams do, but was highly successful for Solar Campus.
-Kevin Fries: Class of 2013: Team Solar Campus