ECE 59500 - Fundamental of Solar Cells: A cell to System Perspective

Lecture Hours: 3 Credits: 1

Counts as:
CMPE Special Content Elective
EE Elective

Experimental Course Offered: Spring 2020

ECE 30500 (grade of B or better) or ECE 60600 or ECE 59500 Semiconductor Fundamentals

Requisites by Topic:
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 taught at the advanced undergraduate / beginning graduate student level.

Supplementary Information:
This is a 5-week, 1-credit course offered on campus and through EdX.

Required Text(s): None.

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

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:

Lectures Lecture Topics
Unit 1 Introduction to solar cells and photovoltaic systems: Sun, earth and the solar cell
Unit 2 Solar cells: Review of semiconductor fundamentals; The NP diode; Solar cell fundamentals; Solar cell design principles: Electrical and Optical; Heterojunction solar cells; solar cell manufacturing; tandem solar cells; The NIP diode; NIP diode and thin-film solar cells; Electrical characterization of solar cells; Compact models; The Shockley-Queisser limit; The Shockley-Queisser triangle
Unit 3 Modules: Introduction to electrical grid in solar modules; Electrical grid in thin-film solar modules; Electrical grid in c-Si solar modules: Introduction to PV reliability (Shadow, soiling); PV Reliability: Potential induced degradation; PV reliability: Corrosion and solder-bond failure; PV reliability: Qualification tests and module characterization
Unit 4 Systems: Introduction to a grid integrated and stand-alone PV systems; Installation of stand-alone modules; Design principles for a solar farm: Monofacial; Design principle s for a solar farm: Vertical bifacial; New farm topologies: Agro-PV, Building-integrated PV; Energy storage strategies for solar energy; How to design a cost effective solar farm: Introduction; Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE): Key elements; Learning curves and LCOE

Engineering Design Content:

Establishment of Objectives and Criteria

Engineering Design Consideration(s):