Jenna McGrath

Ph.D. Candidate

Member Of:
  • School of Public Policy
  • Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory
Email Address:
mcgrathj@gatech.edu
Office Location:
DM Smith
Overview
Faculty Advisor:  Valerie Thomas
Education:
  • B.A. Environmental Analysis and Policy, Boston University
  • M.A. Environmental Energy Analysis, Boston University
Awards and
Distinctions:
  • Energy Expo Chair, Georgia Tech Energy Club
  • Sam Nunn Security Program Fellow
  • Finalist in the C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium Poster Competition
  • NSF IGERT Fellowship: Nanomaterials for Energy Storage and Conversion
Areas of
Expertise:
  • Energy Policy
  • Energy Security
Interests
Research Fields:
  • Clean Energy
  • Climate Change Mitigation
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Energy, Climate and Environmental Policy
  • Smart Grid
Recent Publications

Journal Articles

  • Climate impacts on the cost of solar energy
       In: Energy Policy [Peer Reviewed]

    July 2016

    Photovoltaic (PV) Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) estimates are widely utilized by decision makers to predict the long-term cost and benefits of solar PV installations, but fail to consider local climate, which impacts PV panel lifetime and performance. Specific types of solar PV panels are known to respond to climate factors differently. Mono-, poly-, and amorphous-silicon (Si) PV technologies are known to exhibit varying degradation rates and instantaneous power losses as a function of operating temperature, humidity, thermal cycling, and panel soiling. We formulate an extended LCOE calculation, which considers PV module performance and lifespan as a function of local climate. The LCOE is then calculated for crystalline and amorphous Si PV technologies across several climates. Finally, we assess the impact of various policy incentives on reducing the firm's cost of solar deployment when controlling for climate. This assessment is the first to quantify tradeoffs between technologies, geographies, and policies in a unified manner. Results suggest crystalline Si solar panels as the most promising candidate for commercial-scale PV systems due to their low degradation rates compared to amorphous technologies. Across technologies, we note the strong ability of investment subsidies in removing uncertainty and reducing the LCOE, compared to production incentives.