Johnson team wins renewable energy competition

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Joe Schwartz

Energy means commerce: Five students from Cornell's Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management captured first place Feb. 21 at the University of Michigan's fourth Renewable Energy Case Competition in Ann Arbor, Mich. The event brings together the best MBA minds from the nation's top business schools.

The teams assessed potential solar electric projects and evaluated market opportunity for the Texas operations of SunEdison, the competition's primary sponsor.

Johnson's team included: Hanson Boyd, MBA '14; Duncan Cooper, MBA '13; Travis Distaso, J.D./MBA '14; Jaime Martinez, MBA '13; and Bryson Saez, MBA '14.

Team Johnson identified commercial-scale, distributed solar generation as the most attractive market segment for SunEdison. Solar generation systems - ranging from 100 kilowatt to 500 kilowatt - benefit from economies of scale and yield attractive power generation costs, and a lean sales force can handle the customer volume. Using reasonable assumptions, the team forecast that SunEdison could generate close to $500 million in revenue over the next 10 years.

Judges praised the Johnson team for its solution, strong presentation skills and visible team unity. Team member Bryson Saez says: "Bringing our work together and confidently presenting as a team, under the scrutiny of industry professionals who have been working at the case problem for months and even years, was a real challenge. It is, without question, going to be remembered as one of the highlights of my business school experience."

The team received support from faculty advisers Mark Milstein, director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, and Risa Mish, faculty director of the Accelerated MBA Program.

 


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Blaine Friedlander