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Boston University - College of Engineering

Course Number: EC/MS 573


Course Designation (check one) [ X] Lecture


] Fall

Course Title: Solar Energy Systems

[X] Spring 2010

[ ]Summer


] Lecture/Lab (course does not require separate lab registration)


] Lec/Disc (course does not require separate discussion registration)

Lecture hrs/wk:


Discussion hrs/wk:

Laboratory hrs/wk:

Semester credits:


Course Catalog Description:

EC/MS 573 Solar Energy Systems This course is designed for first year graduate and senior undergraduate students from engineering disciplines and is intended to educate students in the design and applications of solar energy technology. It will focus on fundamentals of solar energy conversion, solar cells, optical engineering, photoelectrochemical cells, thermoelectric generators, and energy storage and distribution systems. The course covers solar energy insolation and global energy needs, current trends in photovoltaic energy engineering, solar cell material science, design and installation of solar panels for residential and industrial applications and connections to the national grid and cost analysis of the overall system. In addition, basic manufacturing processes for the production of solar panels, environmental impacts, and the related system engineering aspects will be included to provide a comprehensive state-of-the art approach to solar energy utilization.

Prerequisites: EK 408, graduate standing or permission of the instructor. EC 471 is suggested.

Courses for which this course is a prerequisite: N/A Required Textbook(s):

1. Solar Cells: Operating Principles, Technology and system Applications, Martin A. Green, Published by the University of New South Wales, 1998, ISBN 0 85823 580 3 (This book will be available for purchase at the beginning of the class)

2. Notes and papers will be provided for all topics.


1. Principles of Solar Engineering, D. Yogi Goswami, Taylor and Francis, 2000, ISBN 10: 1-56032-


2. Applied Photovoltaics, Stuart Wenham, Martin Green, and Muriel Watt, Earthscan, 2007, ISBN 1-


3. Photovoltaic Engineering Handbook, F. Lasnier and T. G. Ang, IOP Publishing UK (Adam Hilger USA) 1990, ISBN 0-85274-311-4

4. Semiconductor Devices, Physics, and Technology, Second Edition, S. M., Sze, New York, NY:

Wiley, 2001. ISBN: 0471874248

Course Contents:

1. Solar energy conversion: Photovoltaic, Photoelectrochemical, Photothermal, and Thermoelectric systems: Course overview


Solar energy: solar insolation vs. world energy demand, current energy consumption from


different sources, environmental and health effects; Sustainable Energy: production and storage, resources and utilization.

2. Photovoltaics (PV):


Fundamentals of solar cells: types of solar cells, semiconducting materials, band gap theory,


absorption of photons, excitons and photoemission of electrons, band engineering; Solar cell properties and design; p-n junction photodiodes, depletion region, electrostatic field


across the depletion layer, electron and holes transports, device physics, charge carrier generation, recombination and other losses, I-V characteristics, output power; Single junction and triple-junction solar panels, metal-semiconductor heterojunctions, and semiconducting materials for solar cells.

3. Solar Cell Applications:


PV cell interconnection, module structure and module fabrication, ;


Equivalent circuits, load matching, efficiency, fill factor and optimization for maximum power;


Design of stand-alone PV systems, system sizing, device structures, device construction,


installation, measurements; DC to AC conversion, inverters, on-site storage and grid connections; Solar cell manufacturing processes: material resources, chemistry, and environmental impacts; low cost manufacturing processes.

4. Optical engineering:


Optical design, anti-reflection coatings, beam splitters, surface structures for maximum light


absorption, operating temperature vs conversion efficiency; Types of solar energy concentrators, Fresnel lenses and Fresnel reflectors, operating solar cells at high incident energy for maximum power outpu.

5. Cost analysis and environmental issues:

1) Cost analysis and pay back calculations for different types of solar panels and collectors, installation and operating costs; 2) Environmental and safety issues, protection systems, performance monitoring.

6. Thin film solar cells:


Single crystal, polycrystalline and amorphous silicon solar cells, cadmium telluride thin-film solar


cells, conversion efficiency; Current trends in photovoltaic research and applications; nanotechnology applications, quantum dots, solution based processes solar cell production.

7. Photoelectrochemical Cells for hydrogen Production:

1) Photoelectrochemical electrolysis, photoelectrochemical cells for hydrogen production, solar-to- hydrogen efficiency; 2) Hydrogen storage, hydrogen economy.

8). Solar thermal conversion:


Low, medium and high temperature collectors, types of solar energy collectors;


Heat storage, storage media, steam accumulator, other storage systems, heat exchangers and applications of stored energy.

9. Thermoelectric systems:

1. Thermoelectricity, Peltier effect, Seebeck effect;

2. Thermoelectric materials, Bismuth telluride, automotive thermoelectric generators, radioisotope thermoelectric generator;

3. Thermoelectric power generators, thermoelectric refrigerators and heat pumps.

Course Goals:

1. Learn the fundamentals of solar energy conversion systems, available solar energy and the local and national needs, solar engineering applications, emerging technologies,

2. Understand the interdisciplinary approach for designing stand-alone PV systems, predicting performance with different systems, Implementing design with cost analysis,

3. Gain system engineering expertise related to photovoltaic energy conversion: generation, storage, and grid connection processes for residential and industrial applications, and

4. Learn how to advance the current technology of the solar energy systems for making the process economical, environmentally safe and sustainable. Be able to serve industries or academia involved in sustainable energy engineering.

Course Outcomes:

As an outcome of completing this course, the students will:

1. Gain an understanding of the available solar energy and the current solar energy conversion and utilization processes,

2. Have a working knowledge of semiconductor physics, optical systems, photovoltaic engineering, load matching, and storage and grid connections.

3. Be able to comprehend the challenges in sustainable energy processes, perform cost analysis, design photovoltaic systems for different applications meeting residential and industrial needs, predict and test performance,

4. Understand the manufacturing processes involved, environmental challenges that need to be solved, economic aspects, and future potentials, and

5. Gain an insight of the photovoltaic system engineering aspects including modeling and upscaling of the PV systems with different approaches, and be able to advance photovoltaic systems.

Topics in Program Assignments:

Students will select projects related to the different engineering aspects of solar energy systems: These projects may involve (1) technology trends in solar energy conversion and their relative merits, (2) economics and environmental issues, (3) designing PV systems for residential and industrial applications with on-site storage and grid connections, (4) PV system sizing with performance, investment and operating cost analysis, (5) payback calculations of different solar systems, (6) PV material resources, production and pollution controls, and (7) comparative analysis of thin film and conventional solar panels and energy storage systems. Laboratory experiments will be included when possible. All projects will include a written report and an oral presentation.

Contribution of Course to Meeting Professional Component

Engineering topics (0 to 100%)


Prepared by: Malay Mazumder