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1 - How is electrical energy produced from the sun?

Photovoltaic effect in a solar cell

The energy production is based on a physical phenomenon called "photovoltaic effect", this
is basically the conversion of solar light into electrical energy using semiconductor devices
called photovoltaic cells.
2 - What is the world energetic consumption? How much solar energy reaches the Earth's
The sun produces a great amount of energy: approx' 1.1 x 1020 kW hours every second (1 kW
hour is the energy necessary to operate a 100 W lamp for 10 hours)., or approximately 1.5 trillion
(1,500,000,000,000,000,000) kW hours a year. Nevertheless, due to the reflection, dispersion and
absorption produced by the atmospheric gases, only 47% of this energy, or approximately 0.7
trillion (700,000,000,000,000,000) kW hours reach the Earth's
3 - What is a photovoltaic or wind system and how do they operate?
A photovoltaic system is a system that produces electrical energy using solar radiation as the
source. The system has the following elements (see diagram):
- A photovoltaic generator. Composed of photovoltaic modules which receive the solar
radiation and transform it into direct (DC) electrical current at a low voltage (12 to 48 V).
- An accumulator or battery, that stores the energy produced by the generator and allows the
supply of electrical current in the absence of daylight or on cloudy days.
4 - What are the applications of solar photovoltaic energy?

Amongst the main applications can be found: home electrification, water pumping
systems and irrigation, outdoor lighting, radio and TV repeaters, etc...
5 - Is photovoltaic energy cost effective?
The answer to this question will depend on the location of the proposed installation. A large
proportion of humanity, particularly in those countries which are undergoing a process of
development, does not have access to electricity due to the lack of basic electrical infrastructures.
In these countries solar photovoltaic energy can be the most cost effective solution for the
production of electricity, and indeed in many places, the only solution.
6 - Can we use photovoltaic energy for heating homes or heating the water of a domestic
Even though this is technically possible, from an economical point of view it loses all sense.
To heat water the best option is to use a solar thermal system, these systems use thermal
collectors that absorb heat and transfer it to water or to another suitable fluid. To heat homes, the
best option for the application of solar energy is to use a thermal system with a radiant floor
7 - What is the effective life of a photovoltaic module?
If we consider that a photovoltaic module does not have mobile parts and that the cells and
contacts are encapsulated in a robust resin, high reliability and a long life are achieved, the
efective life of most modules being about 30 years or more. Also, if one of the cells fails, this
does not affect to the operation of the others, and the current and voltage produced can be easily
8 - Can the PV modules be broken easily?
The external surface of a photovoltaic module is protected with glass which is able to
withstand very severe meteorological conditions such as ice, abrasion, sharp changes in
temperature, or even impacts produced by hailstones. One of the standard qualification tests is an
ice ball impact test, in which ice balls of a defined size and consistency are fired at various points
9 - What are the maintenance requirements of a photovoltaic system?
A photovoltaic installation requires minimal and very easy maintenance which can be
reduced to the following procedures:

PV modules
Charge controller


Measurement of the electrolyte density (if appropriate apparatus is available):

10 - What is the environmental impact of photovoltaic solar energy?

Photovoltaic energy, like other renewable energy sources and unlike fossil fuel based
energies, constitutes an inexhaustible source of energy, it contributes to the national energy
supply and is less damaging for the environment, avoiding the negative effects caused by the
direct use of conventional fuels (atmospheric pollution, residues, etc) and their generation
derivates (excavations, mines, quarries, etc).
11 - What is the peak power of a PV module?
Is the power output, in Watts, that a PV module produces in standard test conditions (STC)
which are 1000 W/m of irradiance (this is approximately the irradiance on a sunny day around
noon), module
of 25 C and
spectrum AM1.5G.
12 - What are the elements of a PV module?
A photovoltaic module is composed of solar cells which are electrically connected in series
and in parallel, thereby reaching a suitable voltage for their utilization.

Transversal view of a photovoltaic module

13 - What is the difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline PV modules?
Photovoltaic modules are composed of monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon
photovoltaic cells. The difference between them is the manufacturing process. Mon crystalline
silicon cells are obtained from very pure silicon which is melted in a crucible along with a small
14 - Can PV modules operate on cloudy days?
Photovoltaic modules produce electricity even on cloudy days, nevertheless their efficiency
decreases. The production of electricity varies linearly with the incident light and so on an
overcast day when the incident light is equivalent to approximately 10% of the total intensity of

the sun, the efficiency of the PV modules decreases in proportion to this value.
15 - What factors affect the efficiency of a PV module?
Basically the luminous radiation intensity and the cell temperature.

16 - Does the use of a tracking system improve the photovoltaic collection efficiency?
This will depend on the climate and the type of application. At best the efficiency of the
system can be improved by 40%, but the higher cost that the use of trackers supposes does not
compensate the efficiency increase obtained. The applications are generally limited to those
cases where the efficiency increase occurs at the same time as the increase in energy demand
(such as in the case of water pumping systems for livestock in very dry regions).
17 - What is the function of the diodes in a photovoltaic installation?
Diodes are electronic components that allow the flux of current in one direction only. In
photovoltaic systems they are generally used in two ways: as blocking diodes and as bypass

19. What is an N-type semiconductor? Write its energy band diagram.

Energy band diagram for N-Type semiconductor

20. What is monolithic IC
The word monolithic is derived from Greek mono meaning single and lithus
meaning stone. Thus monolithic circuit is built into a single stone or single crystal ie., in
monolithic ICs all circuit components and their interconnections are formed into or on the

1. Explain about the direct and diffuse radiation.(8m)
2.Estimate the solar insolation data.
3.Explain about the extraterrestrial and terrestrial radiation falling on horizontal
4.Estimate the global and diffuse components.
5.Estimate radiation falling on tilted surface.
6.Briefly explain the bond and band model.(8m)
7.How is light absorbed in a semiconductor? Also write notes on recombination of
e-h pairs. (8m)
8.How a pn junction is formed? And explain its characteristics (8m)
9.What is the effect of light,temperature and parasitic resistance on a solar cell?
10.Briefly explain the spectral response of solar cell. (8m)
11.Explain about the optical and recombination losses.
12.Explain the hot-spot heating


1.What is meant by Solar Energy?

The energy received in the form of radiation, can be converted directly or indirectly into other
forms of energy, such as heat and electricity, which can be utilized by man.
2.List the drawbacks of Solar Energy.

The intermittent and variable manner in which it arrives at the earths surface an
The large area required to collect the energy at a useful rate.

3.Define solar constant.

Solar constant is defined as the amount of energy received in unit time on a unit area
perpendicular to the suns direction at the mean distance of the earth from the sun.
4.Define solar time.
Solar time (Local Apparent Time) is measured with reference to solar noon, which is the
time when the sun is crossing the observers meridian.
Solar time = Standard time 4 (Lst-Lloc) +E
Where Lst =standard longitude Lloc = longitude of the observers location E = Equation of Time
diffused radiation is known as global radiation.
5.What is meant by solar collector? Mention its types.

A solar collector is a device for collecting solar radiation and transfers the energy to a
fluid passing in contact with it. There are two types of collectors:

Non- concentrating or flat plate type solar collector.

Concentrating (focusing) type solar collector.

6.Mention the ways of solar energy can be utilized.

Solar energy can be utilized directly in two ways:
By collecting the radiant heat and using it in a thermal system
By collecting and converting it directly to electrical energy using a photovoltaic system
7. What are the indirect forms of solar Energy?
Wind energy Biomass energy Tidal energy Ocean wave energy Ocean thermal energy
Fossil fuels and other organic chemicals Hydro energy
8.What are the performance indices of a solar collector?
The performance indices of a solar collector are Collector Efficiency is defined as the
ratio of the energy actually absorbed and transferred to the heat transport fluid by the
collector(useful energy) to the energy incident on the collector.Concentration Ratio is defined as
the ratio of the area of aperture of the system to the area of the receiver. The aperture of the
system is the projected area of the collector facing (normal) the beam. Temperature Range is the
range of temperature to which the heat transport fluid is heated up by the collector.

9.Name the basic design of solar cookers

The four basic designs of the solar cookers are: Box type solar cooker Dish type solar
cooker Community solar cooker Advanced solar cooker
10.List out the advantages and disadvantages of air flat plate collector
Advantages of flat plate air heating collector are
It is compact, simple in construction and requires little maintenance.
The need to transfer thermal energy from the working fluid to another fluid is eliminated
as air is used directly as the working fluid.
Corrosion is completely eliminated.
Leakage of air from the duct is less severe.
Possibility of freezing of working fluid is also eliminated.
The pressure inside the collector does not become very high.
Disadvantages of air collector are
A large amount of fluid is to be handled due to low density. As a result, the electrical
power required to blow the air through the system can be significant if the pressure drop
is not kept within prescribed limits.
Heat transfer between the absorber plate and air is poor.
There is less storage of thermal energy due to low heat capacity.

11. What is meant by solar pond?

A natural or artificial body of water for collecting and absorbing solar radiation energy
and storing it as heat. Thus a solar pond combines solar energy collection and sensible heat
12. What is meant by solar photo voltaic?
The direct conversion of solar energy into electrical energy by means of the photovoltaic
effect, that is, the conversion of light (or other electromagnetic radiation) into electricity. The
photovoltaic effect is defined as the generation of an electromotive force as a result of the
absorption of ionizing radiation.
13. List the application of solar PV system.
Water pumping sets for micro irrigation and drinking water supply Radio beacons for
ship navigation at ports Community radio and television sets Cathodic protection of oil pipe lines
Weather monitoring Railway signaling equipment Battery charging Street lighting
14. What are the advantages & disadvantages of PV solar energy conversion system?
Direct room temperature conversion of light to electricity through a simple solid state
device. Absence of moving parts Maintenance cost is low s they are easy to operate Do not create
pollution Long effective life Highly reliable
High cost In many applications energy storage is required because of no insolation at
15. What are the advantages & disadvantages of concentrating collectors over flat plate
type collectors?
Reflecting surfaces required less material and are structurally simpler than flat plate
collectors. For a concentrator system the cost per unit area of solar collecting surface is
therefore potentially less than that for flat plate collectors
The absorber area of a concentrator system is smaller than that of a flat plate system for
same solar energy collection and therefore the insulation intensity is greater.
Little or no anti-freeze is required to protect the absorber in a concentrator system
whereas the entire solar energy collection surface requires anti-freeze protection in a flat
plate collector.
Out of the beam and diffuse solar radiation components, only beam component is
collected in case of focusing collectors because diffuse component can not be reflected
and is thus lost.
Additional requirements of maintenance particular to retain the quality of reflecting
surface against dirt, weather, oxidation etc.,
Additional optical losses such as reflectance loss and the intercept loss, so they introduce
additional factors in energy balances

High initial cost

16. Name the types of concentrating collectors.

The main types of concentrating collectors are: Parabolic trough collector Mirror strip
reflector Fresnel lens collector Flat plate collector with adjustable mirrors compound parabolic
concentrator (CPC) 17
17 What are the zones in solar pond?
Surface convective zone or upper convective zone (0.3-0.5m)
Non-convective zone (1-1.5m) salinity increases with depth.
Storage zone or lower convective zone (1.5-2m) salinity =20%

16 mark
1. What is the use of blocking diode?
2. Why regulator is needed in a PV system?
3. What is regulator set point?
4. What are the requirements for inverters used in stand-alone PV systems?
5. What materials are used in mounting structures?
6. Define system availability.
7. What is meant by hybrid system?
8. What parameters are required to determine the load?
9. What is sizing?
10. Write the requirements for battery to be used for long term.
11. What is columbic or charge efficiency?
12. What is voltage efficiency?
13. What is energy efficiency?
14. Define power rating of battery.
15. Define battery capacity.
16. What is depth-of-discharge?
17. What are super capacitors?
18. Draw the block diagram of standalone PV system.
19. What are the reasons for encapsulated cell have lower efficiency?
20. What is earthling or grounding?

1. What is an inverter?
An inverter takes DC power (from a battery or solar panel, for example) and converts it
into alternating current (AC) "household" power for running electronic equipment and
2. How is an inverter different than a UPS?
A UPS typically includes the inverter, battery and battery charger in one standalone unit.
However, there are UPSs that use external batteries, and Power Stream has
made inverters with battery chargers, so the differences blur as features proliferate. PSs
also can have communication with the equipment that it is powering, which lets the
equipment know that it is operating on standby, giving it shutdown warning, or
communicating with the human in the loop. Inverters typically don't have this
3. What is meant by Energy Conservation?
Energy Conservation means reduction in energy consumption but without making any
sacrifice in the quality or quantity of production. In other words, it means increasing the
production from a given amount of energy input by reducing losses/wastage and maximizing
the efficiency.
4. State three incentives in Energy Conservation.
The three major incentives in energy conservation are:
Decreasing the energy requirement
Conserving the limited conventional assets of energy
Saving the environment
5. .List the general principles of Energy Conservation
The general principles of Energy Conservation are:
Recycling of waste
Modernization of technology
Waste heat utilization
Proper house keeping
Judicial use of proper types of energy
Judicial use of proper type of fuel
Training of manpower
Adopting daylight saving time
Proper operation and maintenance
6. List the necessity of energy storage.




The effective utilization of intermittent and variable energy source such as sunlight, wind,
etc., often requires energy storage
Storing the energy and transporting it economically to a load centre.
The vehicle must carry its energy supply, the storage system must be readily transportable
nergy storage is also required for load leveling in an electric utility to reduce the overall
cost of generating electrical power.
Define Energy Utility Factor.
The relation between useful thermal energy and the available chemical energy in the fuel
is expressed by means of the energy utility factor. Energy Utility Factor= Useful Thermal
Energy/ Available Energy in Fuel
What are the needs of energy conservation?
Energy conservation is necessary to reduce the wastage of energy.
It helps to keep the domestic change payment constant even when the production cost of
electricity increase.
It helps to maintain the profit in industries uniform even if the electricity change
What are the different types of renewable energy sources?
Solar energy Wind energy Hydro power Geo thermal Biomass Tidal & Wave energy

10. What are the applications of solar energy?

Heating and cooling residential building
Solar water heating
Solar distillation
Solar engines for water pumping
Food refrigeration
11. What are the types of wind mills?
Multi blade type
Sail blade type
Propeller type
Savonius type and
Darrieus type
12. State the causes of problems in wind mill

Wind energy available is dilute and fluctuating in nature. Because of the dilute form,
conversion machines have to e necessarily large.
Wind energy systems are noisy in operation a large unit can be heard many kilometers
Large areas are needed to install wind forms for electrical power generation

1.Write notes on onsite storage .(8m)

2.Explain about any three international PV programs.

3.Explain in detail about the PV systems in buildings.
4.What are the design issues for central power stations. Explain in detail.
5.Write in detail about the utility application for photovoltaic.(8m)
6.Explain in detail about the efficiency and performance of PV cell.
7.Explain about the PV programs in USA and China.


1 - What is the composition of a lead-acid battery?
Lead-acid batteries are composed of lead plates in an sulfuric acid solution. The plate
consists of a lead alloy grid covered by a lead oxide paste. The solution of sulfuric acid and
water is called electrolyte.
2 - What are the differences between lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries?
Nickel-cadmium batteries have a similar physical structure to lead-acid batteries. Instead of
lead, nickel hydroxide is used for the positive plates and cadmium oxide for the negative plates.
The electrolyte is potassium hydroxide.
The nominal voltage of a Ni-Cd battery cell is 1.2V, in place of the 2V of the lead-acid
battery cells.
The cost of a Ni-Cd battery is much higher than the cost of a lead-acid battery,
nevertheless they have lower maintenance requirements and a longer life. Ni-Cd batteries are
recommended for remote places or where access is dangerous or problematic.
The test results of Ni-Cd batteries are not as reliable as those of lead-acid batteries.
Therefore, if it is necessary to
control the level of the charge, Ni-Cd batteries are not the
best option.
3 - What is 'sulfation' of a lead-acid battery?
If a lead-acid battery remains in a state of deep discharge for a long time, it will suffer a
sulfation process. Some of the sulfuric acid will combine with the lead from the plates to form
lead sulfate. If the battery is not topped up periodically with distilled water, part of the plates will
remain exposed to the air and the process will be acelerated.
The lead sulfate covers the plates in such a way that the electrolyte cannot penetrate them.
This means an irreversible loss of battery capacity that even with the addition of water, cannot be
3 - How can the state of charge of a battery be found out?
The easiest way is through the measurement of the density (or specific gravity) of the liquid
inside the battery (the electrolyte). The density shows the weight of the electrolyte in comparison
with the same amount of water, and is measured using an hydrometer. The most common
hydrometers are those used for cars, which show the charge as a percentage. However, the
disadvantage of these devices is that they are calibrated for the electrolyte used in starting
batteries and not for stationary batteries, for this reason they will show less than the real value
(50% for fully charged stationary batteries).

4 - Can the batteries become frozen? At what temperature?

As the lead-acid batteries use electrolyte containing water, it may freeze. Nevertheless, the
sulfuric acid act like an antifreeze. The higher the percentage of acid in the water, the lower the
freezing point of the electrolyte. Nevertheless, even a fully charged battery operating at
extremely low temperatures may freeze.
As shown in the following table, a lead-acid battery at a state of charge of 50% will freeze at
about -25C.
As can be seen, the battery should be kept above -10 C, if it is to remain fully discharged. If
a higher temperature can not be maintained, the state of charge should be at a high enough level
to avoid freezing. This can be achieved automatically using a charge regulator which is able to
disconnect the load when the battery voltage decreases below a defined level.

Density Volts/cell Volts/battery Freezing point
1,265 2,12
Charged 75% 1,225 2,10
Charged 50% 1,190 2,08
Charged 25% 1,155 2,03
Discharged 1,120 1,95
State of charge, density, voltage and freezing point for a lead-acid battery
5 - What are the effects upon the capacity and the voltage of serial or parallel connected
The batteries can be connected in series in order to increase the voltage, or in parallel to
increase the capacity, in Amp hours, of the battery system.
When connecting a group of batteries in series and parallel, both voltage and capacity are
6 - What is the effect of the fast discharge of a battery?
Firstly, not all the energy that a battery can supply is obtained. For example, a battery which
discharges in 72 hours can supply about twice the energy that it would supply if discharged in
only 8 hours.
Also, fast discharge of a battery produces deformation and premature disintegration of the
cell plates, which disintegrate, giving rise to a sediment in the bottom of the battery containers.
This sediment can cause a short circuit between the plates, thus destroying the battery.

7 - What are the effects of heat on a battery?

An increase of temperature is highly damaging for batteries. If the container temperature is
higher than 40C, it is necessary to decrease the charge regimen.
8 - Where should the batteries be installed?
A warm place should be found, avoiding very low temperatures. It is also necessary to avoid
temperatures lower than 0 C because the internal resistance of the battery increases a lot.
9 - What is the danger of leaving a battery discharged for a long time?
The lead sulfate that covers the plates will become hard when the battery is left discharged;
the pores become obstructed and do not allow the electrolyte to flow, the active elements of the
plates therefore cannot function, thus reducing the effective capacity of the battery. The end
10 - What are the most common causes of battery sulfation?
The most common causes of battery sulfation are: A battery which remains discharged for a
long period of time. The addition of pure acid to the electrolyte. Frequent overcharges. Not
filling up with distilled water at the right time. The transfer of electrolyte from one cell to other.
11 - What are the symptoms that show that a battery is sulfated?
The symptoms are:
The hydrometer always measures a low density, even though the cell is charged in the same
way as the there cells.The voltage is always lower than the voltage of normal cells.
The sulfated cell does not allow the usual intensity flow due to a high increase in its electrical
resistance. Both positive and negative plates are very light in color.
12 - What kind of water should be used to fill up the batteries?
Distilled water or rain water, which should be stored in very clean glass containers. The rain
water is the best, but it should be collected in such a way so as to avoid contact with metals (zinc
roofs, etc) as this will cause the incorporation of impurities. Collection on a roof with ceramic
13 - Is the use of a charge controller in a photovoltaic installation necessary? In what cases
can the charge controller be avoided?

The primary function of a charge controller in a photovoltaic system is to protect the battery
form overcharges or over discharges. Almost all installations require a charge controller. Systems
without charge controllers will reduce the battery life and the load availability.
Systems with small, predictable and continuous loads can be designed to operate without
charge controller. If the system has an over-sized battery and the discharge regimen will never go
below the critical depth of discharge of the battery, the charge controller can be avoided.
14 - What is the difference between the different kind of inverters? What is the most
suitable inverter for each application?
Inverters transform DC current into AC current. DC current has a current flux which only
flows in one direction, while AC current changes the current flux very fast from one direction to
the other. The frequency of AC current in Spain is usually 50 cycles per second (Hertzs). Each
cycle involves the movement of current in one direction and then in the other. This means that
the direction of the current changes 100 times every second.

16 Marks
1. Explain in detail about the solar thermal energy storage.
2. Explain in detail about the battery energy storage.
3. Explain in detail about the pumped hydroelectric energy storage.
4. Write notes on impact of intermittent generation.
5. Explain in detail about sensible heat storage.
6. Explain in detail about latent heat storage.


1. What are the merits of solar cooker?

No attention needed while cooking
No fuse required
Negligible maintenance cost
No pollution
Vitamins of food are not destroyed
No overflowing
2. What are the limitations of solar cooker?
According to sunshine menu should be prepared
Short time cooking not possible
Cooking at night or cloudy days is difficult
Takes long time for cooking
Chapaties are not cooked because of high temperature requirement and needs
manipulation at the time of baking
3. What are the reasons for solar pumping usage?
Need for pumping occurs during the summer when solar radiation is greatest.
During periods of low radiation when pumping reduce evaporation losses from crops also
4. What is the need for solar crop drying?
High moisture crops are prone to fungus infection, attack by insects and rests. Solar
dryers remove moisture with no ingress at just and the product can be preserved for a longer
period at time.
5. State the use of solar kilns?
For large scale drying ie seasoning of timber, corn drying, tea processing, fish and fruit
drying, solar kilns are in use.
6. List the different modes of solar cooling
Evaporative cooling
Absorption cooling and
Passive desiccant cooling
7. What are the 4 units of absorption type solar cooler?
Condenser Evaporator
8. What are the advantages of solar cells?

They need little maintenance

They have longer life
They do not create pollution problem

Their energy source is unlimited

Easy to fabricate
They can be made from raw materials which are easily available in larger quantities
9. What are the disadvantages of solar cell?
Compares with other sources of energy solar cells produce electric power at very high
Solar cell output is not constant and it varies with the time of day and weather
They can be used to generate small amount of electric power.
10. What are the components of basic solar pumping system?
The solar collector
The heat transfer system
Boiler or heat exchanger
Heat engine
11. List the types of heat engines used in solar system
Rankine engine
Reciprocating engine
Vapor engine
Stirling hot gas engine
Brayton cycle gas turbine
Rotary piston engine
12. Write the equation for over all efficiency of solar pump?

Overall efficiency= Efficiency of the engine* Efficiency of the collectors

13. List the working fluids used in solar pumps
Monochloro benzene
Hexa flura benzene
13. What are the two types of flat plate collectors?
Liquid heating collectors
14. What is Greenhouse effect?
The energy we receive from sun in the form of light is a shortwave radiation (not visible
to human eye). When this radiation strikes a solid or liquid it is absorbed and transformed in to
heat, the material becomes heat and conducts it to surrounding materials (air, water or liquids) or
reradiates in to other materials of low temperature as long wave radiation.
15. What is concentration ratio?

Concentration ratio is the ratio between the aperture area and receiver / absorber area of the
16. List the five advantages of solar energy

It is free from pollution

The plant requires little maintenance or help after set up
It is economical
They collect solar energy optically and transfer it to a single receiver thus minimizing
thermal energy transport requirement
Concentration ration is 300 to 1500 and are highly efficient both in collecting energy and
in converting energy
17. List any four disadvantages of solar energy
It is available only by day and not when the sky is cloudy, there by reducing the chances
of it being totally reliable and requiring storage facilities
It needs back up power plant to be kept hot and not to replace solar power stations they
stop producing energy
Keeping back up plants hot includes an energy cost which includes coal burning
Places located at high altitudes or those that are often cloudy are not targets for solar
power use.

1.Explain how a photovoltaic system is used for telecommunication.
2. Explain in detail about solar cars.
3.Explain in detail about direct-drive applications.
4.Explain how PV cell is used in space.
5.Explain in detail about solar water pumping.
6.Explain in detail about the battery chargers