Silvana Ovaitt is a researcher at NREL working with the performance and reliability group on bifacial photovoltaic (PV) technology. The projects focus on bifacial PV optical and electrical performance and modeling. Her research includes characterization and energy/optics simulation for bifacial and previously for PV-holographic system energy production.

She has a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Arizona. She also has a master's degree in optical sciences at the same university. She received a bachelor's degree in mechatronics engineering from Monterrey Tec. Also, in 2018, she edited and published a book, Solar Outreach Handbook.

Research Interests

Bifacial PV

PV field performance and reliability

Circular economy


Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Arizona

M.S., Optics, University of Arizona

M.S., Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Arizona

M.F.A., Creative Writing, University of Texas at El Paso

B.S., Mechatronics, Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey

Certificate in College Teaching, University of Arizona

Professional Experience

Organizer, BifiPV Workshop (2019-2020)

Activity Organizer Lead, International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme Task 13, Bifacial PV Round-Robin Modeling Comparison (2020)

NREL Ambassador, NREL (2019-2020)

Committee Member, Hispanic Latino Alliance Employee Resource Group at NREL (2020)

Student Leadership Council, Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies Engineering Research Center  (2016-2018)

Tutorial Instructor, Photovoltaics Specialists Conference (2019)

Associations and Memberships

Women in PV Chair, Photovoltaic Specialists Conference Committee (2021)

Member, IEEE 

Member-Mentee, Lean in Energy

Member, International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme, Task 13 Bifacial PV

Member, Photovoltaic Quality Assurance Task Force Group 15: Repair, Reuse, Recertification, and Recyling of PV

Featured Work

Model and Validation of Single-Axis Tracking with Bifacial PV, IEEE J Photovoltaics (2019)

Comparison of Bifacial Solar Irradiance Model Predictions with Field Validation, IEEE J Photovoltaics (2019) 

Bifacial_Radiance: A Python Package for Modeling Bifacial Solar Photovoltaic Systems, Journal of Open Source Software (2020)

De-Fluffing Circular Economy Metrics with Open-Source Calculator for PV, PV Reliability Workshop (2020)

Field-Array Benchmark of Commercial Bifaical PV Technologies with Publicly Available Data, 47th IEEE PVSC Conference (2020)

Bifacial PV System Mismatch Loss Estimation, 6th BifiPV Workshop (2019)

Effect of Torque-Tube Parameters on Rear-Irradiance and Rear-Shading Loss for Bifacial PV Performance on Single-Axis Tracking Systems, 46th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference Proceedings (2019)  

Single Axis Tracked Bifacial Results, 5th Bifacial PV Workshop (2018)

Holographic Cap Collectors for Enhanced Mid-Day Energy Production of Vertically Mounted Bifacial Photovoltaic Modules, SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications Conference (2018)

Model and Analysis of Solar Thermal Generators to Reduce the Intermittency of Photovoltaic Systems with the Use of Spectrum Splitting, SPIE Optics+ Photonics for Sustainable Energy Conference (2015)

Awards and Honors

Graduate Student Assistant Award, World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (2018)

Outstanding Outreach Award, Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies Engineering Research Center (2017)

University of Arizona Ren Future Leaders Fellowship (2016)