As a renewable energy generation, the solar Photovoltaic (PV) system has become a popular technique that converts sunlight to generate electrical power. However, most countries, especially like China met challenges in expanding their domestic market and widespread adoption by their own citizens. One of the major reasons why customers are hesitated to adopt solar panels is the difficulty in comparing a variety of solar panels with respect of multiple different dimensions without the aid of appropriate quantitative models. The PV panel’s purchasing efficiency is determined not only just by those technical factors identified by the current literature and practice, but also by the economy factors such as price and the physical factors including weight. The study overviews all the important purchasing criteria during selecting PV panels and applies a Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) model to analyze the purchasing efficiency of solar panels for customers during the selection of the most efficient one(s) among a variety of solar panels. In order to demonstrate the model, we used a numerical example to compare a group of thirty five popular solar panels produced by six most famous solar panel manufacturers in China. The main goal of this study is to help customers with purchasing decisions. And the results indicate how the manufacturers can improve the current inefficient products as well.

Note on the Author

Under the direction of Dr. Xiangrong Liu (Management), this joint research project included 21 days of fieldwork in China in summer 2014. Their travel and research were funded by BSU's Undergraduate Research Abroad grant, with the support of the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Dr. Edward W. Minnock Center for International Engagement. Bingqing Zheng and Patrick Prince presented this research at the 2015 National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Spokane, Washington.

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