MSc in Sustainable Energy Systems

Course Information Package

Course Unit CodeMES504
Course Unit Details
Number of ECTS credits allocated6
Learning Outcomes of the course unitBy the end of the course, the students should be able to:
  1. Identify the role of renewable energy sources within the wider range of non-conventional electricity sources.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge on renewable energy source technologies.
  3. Compare and contrast the characteristics, properties, applications and design aspects of renewable energy sources.
  4. Apply and design simple renewable energy systems.
  5. Analyse and assess the performance of renewable energy systems.
Mode of DeliveryFace-to-face
Recommended optional program componentsNONE
Course ContentsPart 1: Introduction: Properties of Sunlight
Properties of light: Energy of a photon, Photon flux, Spectral irradiance, blackbody radiation. Solar radiation: the sun, solar radiation in space, solar radiation outside the earth’s surface, Terrestrial solar radiation: at earth’s surface, atmospheric effects, motion of the sun, declination/elevation/azimuth angle, sun position and calculation, solar insolation calculation, Solar radiation data: measurement and analysis, meteorological data and average solar radiation
Part 2: Photovoltaics (PV)
PN junction. Introduction: semiconductor materials and structure, conduction in semiconductors and physical characteristics. Generation: absorption of light / coefficient / depth, generation rate. Recombination: types, lifetime, diffusion length. Carrier transport: movement of carriers, diffusion, drift. P-n junctions: P-N junction diodes, bias, diode equation, Diode equations for PV
Part 3: Solar cell operation
Ideal solar cells: structure, light generated current, collection probability, quantum efficiency, spectral response. Solar cell parameters: IV curve, short-circuit current, open-circuit voltage, fill factor, efficiency, detailed balance, tandem cells. Resistive effects: characteristic resistance, effect of parasitic resistances, series/shunt resistance and their impact. Temperature effect, light intensity effect
Part 4: Design and manufacturing of silicon cells
Design principles, Reducing recombination, Top contact design, Solar cell structure. First PV devices and early silicon solar cells, Silicon wafers and substrates, Processing technologies, Cell fabrication technologies, Solar cell production line
Part 5: Modules and Arrays
Module design, Interconnection effects, Temperature effects:  module temperature, NOCT, heat loss, Lifetime
Part 6: Characterization
Measurement of cell efficiency, Other IV measurements and characterization, Lifetime, Luminescence, PV system simulation
Part 7: Grid connected and off-grid PV system considerations and design
Part 8: Concentrated Photovoltaics (CPV)
Part 9: Hydrogen production from Photovoltaics
Part 10: Solar thermal
Solar collectors. Flat plate, concentrating collectors. Description, balance equation, temperature distribution, heat loss coefficient, temperature effects, effects of dust and shading, performance, efficiency, characteristics, practical considerations
Part 11: Solar thermal power systems
Parabolic troughs. Sterling engines. Solar towers. Thermal storage (hot oil, molten salt technologies)
Recommended and/or required reading:
  • T.E. Kissell, Introduction to Solar Principles, Prentice Hall, 2012
  • J.A. Duffie, W.A. Beckman, Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes, 3rd Edition, Wiley, 2006
  • S.P. Sukhatme, Solar Energy: Principles of thermal collection and stirage, 3rd edition, Mc Graw Hill 2008
  • G.N. Tiwari, Solar Energy: Fundamentals, design, modeling and applications, Narosa Publishing house, 2004
  • Journal of Solar energy
  • Photon Magazine
Planned learning activities and teaching methodsThe course is presented through theoretical lectures in class. The lectures present to the student the course content and allow for questions. The material is presented using visual aids (i.e. PowerPoint presentation slides, documentaries, etc.). The aim is to familiarize the student with the different and faster pace of presentation and also allow the instructor to present related material that would otherwise be very difficult to do. The learning process is enhanced with the requirement from the student to carry in-class discussions and tackling of hypothetical scenarios in small-group exercises. Small assignments are required as part of the students assessment for the course, allows students the opportunity to carry out independent research, synthesize basic concepts presented in class, as well as hone their writing and presentation skills. Besides from the notes taken by students in class, all of the course material is made available through the class website which is available through the University’s E-learning platform (“Moodle”). The instructors are available to students during office hours or by appointment in order to provide necessary guidance.
Assessment methods and criteria
Demonstration Lab (Photovoltaics) 10%
Midterm Exam20%
Final Exam50%
Language of instructionEnglish
Work placement(s)NO