Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology


Information and Decision Sciences

First Reader/Committee Chair

Conrad, Shayo


Solar-powered vehicles utilize photovoltaic panels to harness solar energy, offering a promising solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable transportation. This research project focused on the challenges and limitations of solar-powered vehicles and aims to provide solutions for their widespread adoption. The research questions explored in this study are: (Q1) How do different geographical locations and climate regions affect the feasibility and practicality of solar-powered vehicles due to variations in sunlight availability? (Q2) How has the adoption of solar-powered vehicles contributed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions? (Q3) What policies and incentives can promote the adoption of solar-powered vehicles? (Q4) What strategies and technologies promote effective recycling of retired electric vehicle batteries? Through a comparative analysis in Q1, Q2, and data analysis in Q3, and Q4, the research questions were analyzed, and provided the findings for each question as: (Q1) In comparing the two states, California and Washington, solar irradiance varies across regions, with California experiencing higher solar power generation (average just below 8.6MW) compared to Washington state (4.53). Northern US cities have an average annual solar irradiation of 4.0 to 4.6 kWh/m²/day, while southern cities receive 4.7 to 6.1 kWh/m²/day. (Q2) Comparing the categories of transportation with gases, light-duty vehicles contribute 45% of GHG emissions, with CO2 accounting for 97% of vehicle emissions in the 2021 sample data that are released in the environment and the composition of these gases that influence harmful emissions, there are significant differences to consider. However, (Q3) The Advanced Clean Cars Rule II (ACC-II) in California aims to achieve 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2035, with an intermediate target of 36% sales of zero-emission vehicles by 2026. In contrast, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Plan focuses on installing 250,000 zero-emission vehicle chargers, including 10,000 fast chargers, by 2025. (Q4) Battery demand is projected to increase by approximately 3818.42% from 0.01856 TWh in 2020 to 0.7087 TWh in 2030 due to the rise in electric vehicle sales. The conclusion for each question is (Q1) The areas with high solar irradiance (like California (average just below 8.6MW) have the potential to harvest more effective energy. However, in areas (For e.g., Washington with 4.53MW) with low solar irradiance, it is challenging for these vehicles. (Q2) CO2 has the highest contribution (97%) among the gases released with highest the proportion of internal combustion vehicles (Light Duty vehicles {45%}), to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the shift to zero-emission vehicles and the adoption of solar-powered vehicles presents a perfect opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With carbon-neutral operation, enhanced energy efficiency, and seamless integration with renewable energy grids, solar vehicles hold tremendous promise for a cleaner and sustainable future. (Q3) By Implementing effective policies and providing financial incentives, governments can attract investments and accelerate the transition towards solar vehicles for e.g. California plans to install 10,000 direct current fast chargers that demonstrates a progressive strategy for adopting these vehicles. (Q4) The growing demand for electric vehicles has increased the demand for lithium-ion batteries, projected to soar by an astounding 3818.42% by the year 2030, resulting in a strain on critical material supplies. Promoting battery recycling is essential to meet the demand, reduce reliance on new materials, and support a sustainable energy transition. Areas for further study include: Developing vehicles that can harness solar irradiation and combine it with electricity generated from various sources, including roof solar panels, nuclear power plants, and wind, to optimize solar energy utilization. Additionally, exploring energy management systems (EMS) can intelligently regulate energy flow, storage, and consumption in these solar-powered vehicles, ensuring efficient use of the available energy. Also, integrating hybrid systems into solar vehicles will allow them to benefit from multiple power sources, enhancing efficiency and adaptability, regardless of varying sunlight availability. By adopting this approach, the transportation sector can progress towards a greener and more sustainable future.