Senior engineer, NextEra Energy; Juno Beach, Florida, United States
When Rachana Vidhi was growing up in Bihar State of northern India, she could count on about six hours of electricity each day from the local power company. Her family otherwise relied on a small lead-acid battery and kerosene lamps. That experience fueled her interest in energy when she first read about solar electricity in school.
Today, she works to integrate batteries into solar power plants for NextEra Energy, a Fortune 200 Florida-based clean-energy company. She joined NextEra after finishing her Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of South Florida in 2014.
Vidhi led the engineering work of several key projects for NextEra, including what the company said is the first large-scale, DC-coupled battery system in the United States to accompany a solar field. She designed inverters to capture a greater amount of DC power directly from solar panels, thereby reducing the energy losses that typically happen with the conventional solar-plus-battery design. The company commissioned the storage system for the 74.5MW solar field a few months back.
"I feel very fortunate to be working on exactly what I wanted to do when I was little," said Vidhi, whose volunteer work includes organizing the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at NextEra. "I'm working on new technologies that are going to shape the future of the energy. That's pretty cool."
See who else made the list at: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/2018-greenbiz-30-under-30