Makello Research Assistant in UCSD ESYS Capstone

I was going into my last quarter of undergrad at UCSD when I started interning at Makello. The internship was part of my Senior Project, and I enjoyed working with a diversely skilled team.  I worked with people with experience in many fields including software/electrical engineering, solar installation, non-profit organizations, management experience, and GIS systems all united by a common goal: clean energy.

I recently completed my B.S. in Environmental Systems and Earth Sciences with a minor in Marine Sciences. I am pursuing a career to combat climate change to preserve our planet as we know it, but there is also a part of me that feels a societal obligation to help elevate the standard of living (if they want it) for people who do not have equal access to opportunities such as education, community resources, healthy foods, etc. I believe we live in a society to take care of each other, and generally, disadvantaged communities could use additional resources, so I was excited to work with a company that works closely with non-profit organizations, especially non-profits in disadvantaged communities, such as Groundwork San Diego. I am thrilled to be in a position, right out of college, where I can help combat both social and environmental justice.

Makello Team City Heights 5k run
The Makello Team (left to right) Agustin, Ola, Linda, Charlie

During my internship, we attended many events as both attendees and presenters, sometimes with Groundwork San Diego or our solar installation team. Examples of events were community activities, such as organized runs or home and garden shows, where we would provide information about electric vehicles and solar. We also attended car shows and electric vehicle focused events to stay current with new electric vehicle technology and to help explain their benefits to the public.

Click here to see how I discovered Makello.  

Part of my initial training was how to use solar design and cash flow analysis software, the site survey measurements and the customer’s goals to determine the Optimal System Size. I grew up doing home remodels and renovations during summers, so I enjoyed visiting different homes and seeing different styles of architecture and landscaping throughout San Diego. It was cool to see some existing solar arrays that customers had already installed too. It was also nice to be able to put a face to the customers whose proposals we were working on. 

Working on customer proposals and site surveys was my favorite part of the internship because it was a combination of computer design and modeling, hands on physical labor, and critical and analytical thinking. I still enjoy the same work, but now my Research Assistant position is 100% remote because we follow CDC guidelines to keep ourselves and our community safe. We used Makello’s software model to create the custom trade-off study proposals for each customer and automatically generate the correct price, ethically, without sales gimmicks.

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Makello’s honesty and knowledge of energy efficiency, utility rates, solar power, electric vehicles, and battery storage, as well as assessing the needs of individual customers and their families, is what drives the high win rate with customer proposals.  On more than one occasion, customers wanted to purchase more solar than they needed, or wanted a battery because they believed it would increase cost savings. Using Makello’s model, our team showed that, in fact, a smaller solar system is needed if replacing inefficient appliances, or changing the times the appliances are in use.

I was excited to work on a diversely skilled team to create community pages for our website. We ended up creating a valuable tool with important information and graphics for San Diego communities. The pages had GIS Maps that displayed information on a variety of issues such as air quality, electric vehicle charging station locations, rebate eligibility, etc. We also included a list of different rebates and incentives for solar, electric vehicles and battery storage as well as information as to why they are beneficial to the environment and how they can save money. Click here to view the community pages. 

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