Prof. Sairaj Dhople has been named McKnight Land-Grant Professor. He is one of nine recipients of the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship Program for 2017-19. His research is primarily concerned with ways by which renewable sources such as solar and wind power can be harnessed in conjunction with conventional sources such as coal and nuclear power. Among his significant contributions to the field are development of high performance electronics for photovoltaic energy conversion systems, computer modeling of renewable energy systems reliability, control of small-footprint power systems known as microgrids, and optimal management of photovoltaic systems. Prof. Dhople has also crossed disciplinary borders and collaborated with other departments in engineering, biosystems, and public policy. A notable example is his work with Prof. Anu Ramaswami at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs as part of the National Science Foundation Sustainable Research Network. The network connects faculty in institutions across the United States and abroad to develop and operate smart and sustainable cities in the future. His research group has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Department of Energy, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The McKnight Land-Grant Professorship Program was established to advance the careers of new assistant professors at a crucial point in their professional lives. The designation of “McKnight Land-Grant Professor” is held by recipients for a two-year period.