Close Menu

Solar Energy Conversion

Semester 1

Solar Energy is the basis for other forms of renewable energy. This course therefore starts by briefly describing the main forms of renewable energy and then delves into solar energy radiation and utilisation. It describes the solar spectra and active and passive solar systems. The heat transfer characteristics are investigated and methods of estimating efficiency are outlined. The course introduces photovoltaics (PV) and the science of the photoelectric effect. PV characteristics are defined and PV design, categories of PV modules, grid connection issues and economic analysis are explained.

  • Renewable Energy: Solar Energy; Photovoltaics; Wind Energy; Hydroelectricity; Geothermal Energy; Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion; Wave Energy; Hydrogen; Fuel Cells; Biomass
  • Solar Energy: Solar energy utilization; Solar radiation; Solar spectra; Design, construction and operating principles of a solar collector; Efficiency of glazing/absorber system; Radiation exchange between surfaces; Concentrating Solar Power (CSP); Solar Cooling
  • Photovoltaics (PV): Photoelectric effect; Materials used for PV cells; Photovoltaic cell, module, array; Factors influencing performance of PV cells; PV energy systems; PV design, including  Electrical and Mechanical design; Categories of PV modules; PV Grid connection; Modeling techniques: RETScreen Analysis; Economic analysis and applications; Socio-economic impacts of renewable energy education, dissemination and applications.
  • Coursework: 50%
    • Laboratory Assignment and Field Trip: 15%
    • Research Project: 20%
    • Mid-semester Exam: 15%
  • Final Exam: 50%
    • Three hours written paper
Learning Objectives: 

Upon successful completion of this course students should be able to:
1. Identify the major forms of renewable energy technologies and discuss the technical and economic issues related to their use.
2. Describe and analyse solar energy systems
3. Distinguish between solar thermal and solar PV
4. Describe harnessing techniques for solar energy
5. Describe the solar energy conversion techniques
6. Identify different materials used for PV conversion
7. Apply information on new PV materials to estimate conversion efficiencies
8. Outline the scientific principles and methodology involved in using solar energy for cooling
9. Evaluate and discuss the economics of solar energy systems
10. Use RETScreen for modelling solar energy systems, including feasibility studies and expected results

B.Sc. Physics or permission from Head of Department
Course Code: 
3 Credits
Top of Page