Print Version

Effective: Fall 2012

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: ENGR 40.
Advisory: Advisory: ENGR 81; CHEM 25 or equivalent; introductory college physics; ability to do basic engineering calculations including use of spreadsheets.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
4 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (84 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Be able to discuss the political, environmental, and economic motivations and limitations of solar energy use
  • Understand the basic science of solar photovoltaic technology and the primary technologies currently available
  • Understand how to assess, design, and construct a solar installation from fabrication to grid incorporation
Description -
Introduces the technical student and working professional to the field of photovoltaic technology, including design, fabrication technology, commercial applications and grid incorporation. Gives an overview of the solar industry, environmental and economic considerations, and key research and policy areas for clean and sustainable energy solutions. Provides students with a conceptual and practical framework to proceed to more advanced study towards careers in the solar technology.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Explain the motivation for utilizing solar energy
  2. Explain the basic science behind photovoltaic devices
  3. Compare and contrast the different photovoltaic technologies currently available
  4. Understand the basic application of NEC code compliance
  5. Explain the difference fabrication techniques for photovoltaics
  6. Perform a solar site survey using sun path and shade analysis
  7. Construct solar arrays from individual solar cells
  8. Diagram solar modules in series and parallel configurations as needed for a site
  9. Explain how solar installations can be incorporated into the electrical grid
  10. Assess the proper sizing for a solar installation
  11. Compare and contrast the manufacturing and environmental concerns in the solar industry
  12. Explain policy issues and considerations involved in solar energy use
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. Solar Photovoltaic demonstration equipment
  2. Solar Photovoltaic Installations
  3. Solar Pathfinder for site analysis

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Review of modern energy systems
    1. History of world energy use
    2. Development of steam energy and electrical utilities
    3. Fossil fuel energy (coal, petroleum, natural gas)
    4. Nuclear energy (history and technology)
    5. Renewable energy development
  2. Environmental/sustainability issues
    1. Pollution form mining and extraction
    2. Air pollution from combustion
    3. Green House Gas warming
    4. Peak Conventional Oil production
    5. Limits of fossil fuels for global energy budget
  3. Review of clean energy technology
    1. Non emission sources: geothermal
    2. Renewable energy: solar and wind
    3. Solar thermal technology
    4. Advanced biofuels
    5. Nuclear energy (Generation IV)
  4. Introduction to Electrical Engineering
    1. Electrical Engineering Foundations
    2. Atoms, charges, volts, amps, ohms, power, conductors, insulators, semiconductors
    3. Polyphase and 3-phase power.
    4. Transformer Theory
    5. Electrical Measurements
    6. Series and parallel circuitry
    7. Hot, neutral and ground wires
    8. Alternating Current: inductance, capacitance, impedance, phase angles, watts
  5. Electrical Safety
    1. National Electric Code (NEC)
    2. Meter categories
    3. Multimeter arc flash and protective equipment
    4. Hazards of Electricity
  6. How Electrical Utilities Work
    1. Traditional fossil fuels: coal and gas
    2. High efficiency combined cycle (IGCC)
    3. Transmission and distribution system
    4. Electrical power grids and markets
    5. Voltage, frequency, and power regulation
    6. Transformer concepts
    7. 3-phase electricity
    8. Grounding
  7. Solar Science
    1. Solar Radiation Metrics and Quantity
    2. Sun-Earth Relationships
    3. Solar Radiation Data Sets
    4. Orientation and soiling charts
    5. Sun path diagrams
  8. Development & History of Photovoltaics
    1. Basic p-n junction physics of photovoltaics
    2. Device operation and performance metrics
    3. Types: Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Thin Film
    4. IV Curves
  9. Fabrication of Photovoltaics
    1. Effects of defects
    2. Efficiency limits on energy conversion
    3. Fabrication techniques
    4. Light Management: Anti-reflection schemes, Concentrators and collectors, confinement and photon recycling
    5. Alternate PV Usage
  10. Solar Modules
    1. Design and Fabrication
    2. Interconnect Methods
    3. Module Specifications
    4. Panels and arrays
    5. PV Module Buyers Guide
    6. Bypass Diodes
  11. Solar Site Surveys
    1. Sun Path
    2. Roof angle
    3. Seasonal tilt adjustment
    4. Azimuth
    5. Shade Analysis
    6. Tilt and Azimuth correction factors
    7. Insolation
  12. Solar Installations
    1. Sizing Calculators
    2. De-rate Factors
    3. Commercial Site Survey
    4. Roof Loading, Structural Considerations
    5. Mounting Design
    6. Panel Specifications
    7. Grid Incorporation
    8. Inverters
  13. Environmental & Resource Concerns
    1. National and international climate accords
    2. Manufacturing byproducts
    3. Aesthetics
    4. Maintenance and Longevity
  14. Politics, Regulations, and Business Issues
    1. How utilities are regulated (CPUC)
    2. State energy management (CA government)
    3. Depreciation and Return on Investment
    4. National energy policy
    5. State and Federal Incentives
    6. Sales Process, Marketing, and Proposals
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Exams
  2. Lab Reports
  3. Final Exam
Representative Text(s) -
Dunlop, James P., Photovoltaic Systems, American Technical Publications; 2nd edition, Orlando Park, IL, 2009. ISBN: 978-0-8269-1287-9

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
Lecture and laboratory and supplemental instruction covering reading technical documents about solar PV systems, following demonstrations in the laboratory of PV design, and engineering small PV systems in the laboratory.
Lab Content -
  1. Greenhouse Effect (UCSC EE80J)
    1. Demonstration of the greenhouse effect
    2. Solar heating
    3. Open v. closed containers
    4. Material dependence on heating and cooling
  2. Solar Pathfinder (UCSC EE80J)
    1. Solar path analysis
    2. Shade analysis
    3. Tilt and azimuth correction factors
  3. Evaluating Alternative Solutions for PV (UCSC EE80S)
    1. Solar basics
    2. Decentralized/Centralized power generation
    3. Photovoltaic technologies
    4. Optimization/Risk assessment of different technologies
  4. Series & Parallel Circuits Review
    1. Breadboard basics
    2. Electrical circuit basics: resistors, batteries
    3. Assembling small circuits
    4. Making and reporting standard electrical measurements
  5. Solar Array Construction, parallel and series interconnection
    1. Solar cell basics
    2. Solar cell interconnection
    3. Small module design
    4. Making and reporting standard measurements
  6. Photovoltaic Motor (UCSC EE80J)
    1. Conversion of solar to electrical to mechanical energy
    2. Construction of simple solar vehicle
    3. Assessment of energy conversion
    4. IV Curves Measuring voltage and current using a PV Analyzer (Bring in Solmetric?)
    5. Basics of IV Curve analysis
    6. Making and reporting of IV curve measurements
    7. Design based upon IV Curve data
  7. Field Exercise Measurement of module Voc & Isc using test equipment
    1. Tour of campus solar installation
    2. Data acquisition from array
    3. Analysis of solar and inverter data
  8. Solar Module Design
    1. Residential Installation plan
    2. Commercial installation plan
    3. Financial plan for installations
  9. Class Tour 1 Fabrication Facility Tour
  10. Class Tour 2 Installation Company/Site Tour
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
Reading textbook on solar PV systems, reading technical documents abut solar PV specifications, and preparing laboratory reports with measurements from small PV prototypes and field PV systems