We invite you to make a donation to The Solar Foundation in honor of Michael La Marca.

About Michael La Marca

From a young age, Michael was always interested in math and science.  He excelled in these topics throughout school and sometimes even taught his teachers new things.  He graduated high school at the top of his class and entered into the University of Michigan with enough AP credits to start college as a sophomore. Michael earned a B.S. in Physics and then continued to pursue his passion by attending Arizona State University to obtain his PhD in Applied Mathematics.  While pursuing his PhD, he had the opportunity to study at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands for two summers under his program advisor to further his research.  For his PhD dissertation, he worked on a problem inspired by semiconductor factories involving the optimal way to introduce material into the production line to match a target output demand, given that the factory runs slower with more product. Using a hyperbolic PDE model, Michael developed a numerical optimization routine to solve this problem in the instance when inventory/backlog was not penalized, and then extended it to when inventory was penalized.

After graduating Arizona State University with his PhD, he was a research intern at PwC for the Center for Advanced Research in San Jose, CA.  Their mission is to create competitive advantage by applying advanced technology and thinking to important practice problems.  Given Michael’s voracious thirst for knowledge, he would sit in on classes at San Jose State University during his time at PwC.  It was at one of these lectures where his passion for solar technology after hearing from a guest lecturer from a top solar company.  Michael immediately approached him after class to learn more about solar energy and the next steps should he wish to pursue a career in the field.  After learning that he would need to further his education in Material Sciences, Michael enrolled again at Arizona State University in their Material Science master’s program, where they had just constructed a start of the art solar facility. There he modeled the order/disorder interface of a Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin Layer (HIT) solar cell and completed extensive coursework in materials science and electrical engineering with a focus on the operation of and the physics underlying all types of solar cells. He secured an internship at the top solar company where he was immediately offered a full-time job and the rest is history. Most recently he worked at Sunnova as the Director Solar Fleet Performance and loved what he did and all of the people that he worked with. 

While most of Michael’s family and friends could not fully comprehend what he studied or his work, they could easily see his passion. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends, as well as the plethora of lives he impacted. As one of Michael’s great passions was solar technology, we invite you to honor his memory by donations to the Solar Foundation.