ECE 59500 - Theory and Practice of Solar Cells: A Cell to System Perspective

Lecture Hours: 3 Credits: 1

This is an experiential learning course.

Counts as:
CMPE Special Content Elective
EE Elective

Experimental Course Offered: Spring 2019

Requisites:
ECE 30500 or ECE 60600 or ECE 69500A (Primer on Semiconductor Fundamentals) or equivalent

Requisites by Topic:
basic understanding of semiconductor fundamentals as covered in the first 5 weeks of ECE 30500 or 60600 or ECE 69500A (Primer on Semiconductor Fundamentals)

Catalog Description:
This course is designed for students from all disciplines in engineering and science seeking to learn about how solar cells function, how they are connected into modules, how modules are assembled into panels, and how panels are fielded in solar farms. The basics of solar farms are covered as well as the reliability of solar cells. The course is at the advanced undergraduate / beginning graduate student level.

Supplementary Information:
This is a 5-week course.

Required Text(s):
  1. Physics of Solar Cells: An Atoms-to-Farm Perspective (draft manuscript), ISBN No. M. A. Alam.
Recommended Text(s):
  1. Photovoltaics Fundamentals, Technology, and Practice, Konrad Mertens, Wiley, 2018, ISBN No. 13: 978-1119401049.
  2. Solar Cells: Operating Principles, Technology and System Applications, Martin A. Green, Prentice-Hall, 1986, ISBN No. 13: 978-0138222703.

Learning Outcomes:

A student who successfully fulfills the course requirements will have demonstrated:
  1. an ability to estimate the maximum efficiency of ideal and nonideal solar cells.. [1]
  2. an understanding of the operation of a solar cell and of how solar cells are interconnected in panels.. [1]
  3. an ability to estimate the cost and performance of grid-connected and stand along PV systems.. [2,7]
  4. an understanding of the key reliability issues for photovoltaic systems.. [6]

Lecture Outline:

Week Lecture Topics
1 Course Introduction; Overview: the sun, earth, and the solar cell; Maximum efficiency of ideal and nonideal solar cells
2-3 Physics of Silicon and thin-film solar cells- Introduction to the five parameter model; Gridding and system integration of solar cells
4 Design of PV systems: Theoretical and practical considerations for grid-connected solar farms and stand alone systems
5 Four key reliability issues of solar farms

Engineering Design Content:

Establishment of Objectives and Criteria
Synthesis
Analysis

Engineering Design Consideration(s):

Economic
Environmental
Health/Safety
Social
Global
Cultural