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Solar Power

Semester 1

The course is presented in four sections. 

  • The first introduces students to the fundamentals of solar radiation and includes sun-earth relationships and how solar irradiance may be measured or estimated.
  • The second discusses solar concentration systems and flat plate collectors and how the efficiencies of these systems are determined. 
  • The third section encompasses photovoltaics and forms the dominant portion of the course. The design requirements of photovoltaics systems for various electrical loads will be analysed. 
  • The fourth section allows students to investigate the latest developments in solar energy technologies, such as solar thermal energy and solar cooling and OTEC through introductory lectures and their own research.
  • The characteristics and measurement of solar radiation
  • Analysis and design of flat plate collector systems
  • The operation, design and application of Photovoltaic (PV) cells and systems
  • Qualitative analysis of the Rankine cycle
  • Solar thermal power systems
  • Principles of operation of ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC)
  • Absorption refrigeration and solar cooling

The course assessment will be as follows:

  • One 2-hour final written examination                         50%
  • Two 1-hour in-course test                                           20%
  • Six graded tutorials (equal weighting)                        10%
  • One seminar-based group presentation                       20%

The grading for the group seminar will be distributed as follows:

  • Individual contribution (15%)
  • Team work (5%)
Learning Objectives: 

On the successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • determine the position of the sun in the sky in terms of celestial coordinates
  • describe the constituents of the solar spectrum and measure/estimate solar radiation at a given location over a period of time?
  • analyze the operation of a thermosyphon solar water heater, and describe the latest developments in solar water heating technology
  • explain the operation of solar thermal power plants, solar cooling and OTEC, and calculate their efficiencies and coefficients of performance
  • describe the characteristics of solar collectors, and calculate their power ratings and efficiencies
  • determine the electrical properties of photovoltaic cells, and describe the factors affecting their efficiencies
  • describe, calculate and analyze the design, installation and performance of photovoltaic systems



  • Twidell, J. W. and Weir, A. D., (2006), Renewable Energy Resources; Taylor and Francis2nd Edition. ISBN: 0-419-25330-0

Highly Recommended

  • Solanki C. S., (2011), Solar Photovoltaics: Fundamentals, Technologies and Applications; PHI Learning Private Limited; 2nd Edition. ISBN: 9788120343863. Also available as Kindle edition (2012) - ASIN: B0089AO19E
  • Solar Energy International, (2004), Photovoltaics: Design and Installation Manual; New Society Publishers, 1st Edition.ISBN-10: 0865715203; ISBN-13: 978-0865715202

Online resources:

Course Code: 
3 Credits
Level 3
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