Original Link :

http://berc.berkeley.edu/berc-member-spotlight-nikhil-gargeya/

Vital Stats: B.S. Environmental Science, Minor in Energy & Resources (2014)

Tell Us What You’re Working On

As a senior in the Environmental Sciences program in CNR and a rural energy access enthusiast, I am finishing up my thesis project that explores the economic viability of solar microgrids in rural South India. As part of this project, I am using an energy optimization tool developed by the Grid Integration Group at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL). As a student researcher there, I am also studying the integration of EV fleets into a building’s grid system as well as the pattern of EV charging in the Bay Area. The way renewables and energy efficiency measures will fit into our developed infrastructure in coming years is of particular interest to me.

Outside the classroom, as part of BEACN, a green consulting group on campus, where I am currently working on a really interesting project to strategically improve market access for a solar sector company.

I also spent my spring break with a group of UC Berkeley students installing solar panels in lower income neighborhoods with GRID Alternatives. It’s been a really engaging and educational experience, getting on the roof to install solar panels and meeting the homeowners and hearing their stories. It’s also been really interesting to learn about how California residential solar policies are changing to improve renewable energy access for all from the viewpoint of the passionate staff of this non-profit!

Who do you work with?

I have had the pleasure of working with really great researchers like Sila Kiliccote, Nicholas Deforest, and Doug Black during my time at LBL. Members of the lab have been extremely encouraging in helping me pursue my research interests!

As part of the BERC Undergrad leadership team, organizing panels and networking events, I’ve met a great group of really smart, tenacious, and fun undergrads interested in different focuses in energy and resources. We have all helped each other find research, choose the coolest classes, and encouraged each other’s interests. I have learned a lot from them and will definitely stay in touch with them!

Finally, over the past two years the Berkeley Rural Energy Group has provided a space for me to explore my interest in rural energy development around the world and put me in touch with so many graduate students and non-profits studying energy access issues in India for my thesis project.

What’s next for you?

After finishing undergrad, I am interested in working in the cleantech and renewable energy industry as an energy analyst or to do energy market research with a focus on cleantech. I hope my work will give me a broader understanding of how the renewable energy industry is developing and which technologies are catching on. After a few years, I hope to head to graduate school to study more about specific energy technologies or policies, depending on what I find interests me more in the future.

BERC Factor?

As an undergraduate student, access to interdisciplinary energy-focused research is often difficult to find (though it’s getting better), so BERC’s events, volunteer opportunities, and field trips put me in touch with grad students and faculty studying and working on energy policy and technology research that I share a passion for. The diverse members, coming from business, policy and technology backgrounds, also educated me on the different career paths within the energy industry and helped shape my interests and professional aspirations. The BERC community is really a great group of people!

Favorite Vegetable?

I would have to say that my favorite vegetable is spinach, and while many people turn their noses up at the thought of eating this green leafy vegetable, I’m sure they would change their minds if they tried the Indian spinach daal dish that I love!