The key factor in getting more efficient and cheaper solar energy panels is the advance in the development of photovoltaic cells. In this course you will learn how photovoltaic cells convert solar energy into useable electricity. You will also discover how to tackle potential loss mechanisms in solar cells. By understanding the semiconductor physics and optics involved, you will develop in-depth knowledge of how a photovoltaic cell works under different conditions. You will learn how to model all aspects of a working solar cell. For engineers and scientists working in the photovoltaic industry, this course is an absolute must to understand the opportunities for solar cell innovation.
MicroMaster ProgramThis course is part of the Solar Energy Engineering MicroMasters Program designed to cover all physics and engineering aspects of photovoltaics: photovoltaic energy conversion, technologies and systems. We recommend that you complete this course prior to taking the other courses in this MicroMasters program.
The key factor in getting more efficient and cheaper solar energy panels is the advance in the development of photovoltaic cells. In this course you will learn how photovoltaic cells convert solar energy into usable electricity. You will also discover how to tackle potential loss mechanisms in solar cells. By understanding the semiconductor physics and optics involved, you will develop in-depth knowledge of how a photovoltaic cell works under different conditions. You will learn how to model all aspects of a working solar cell. For engineers and scientists working in the photovoltaic industry, this course is an absolute must to understand the opportunities for solar cell innovation.
This course is part of the Solar Energy Engineering MicroMasters Program designed to cover all physics and engineering aspects of photovoltaics: photovoltaic energy conversion, technologies and systems. We recommend that you complete this course prior to taking the other courses in this MicroMasters program.
This course is part of the Solar Energy Engineering MicroMasters Program designed to cover all physics and engineering aspects of photovoltaics: photovoltaic energy conversion, technologies and systems.
The technologies used to produce solar cells and photovoltaic modules are advancing to deliver highly efficient and flexible solar panels. In this course you will explore the main PV technologies in the current market. You will gain in-depth knowledge about crystalline silicon based solar cells (90% market share) as well as other emerging technologies including CdTe, CIGS and Perovskites. This courseprovides answers to the questions: How are solar cells made from raw materials? Which technologies have the potential to be the major players for different applications in the future?
This book uniquely covers both the physics of photovoltaic (PV) cells and the design of PV systems for real-life applications, including: - The fundamental principles of semiconductor solar cells. - PV technology: crystalline silicon solar cells; thin-film cells; PV modules; third-generation concepts. - PV systems, from simple stand-alone to complex systems connected to the grid; components; design; deployment; performance. The book is an invaluable reference for researchers, industrial engineers and designers working in solar energy generation. The book is also ideal for university and third-level physics or engineering courses on solar photovoltaics, with exercises to check students' understanding and reinforce learning. It is the perfect companion to the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Solar Energy (DelftX, ET.3034TU) presented by co-author Arno Smets. The course is available in English on the nonprofit open source edX.org platform, and in Arabic on edraak.org. Over 100,000 students have already registered for these MOOCs.
The course is divided into eight parts: an introduction to solar energy; working principles of a semiconductor-based solar cell; solar cell operation, performance, and design rules; PV technology based on crystalline silicon wafers; thin-film PV technologies; third generation PV and other ways to utilize solar energy; PV systems components and concepts; and PV systems application and design.
This brief, introductory edX course in photovoltaic solar energy from École Polytechnique is divided into three parts: photovoltaic solar energy, solar cell operation, and solar photovoltaic systems. Students study the various uses of photovoltaic conversion, the different types of photovoltaic technologies currently in existence, the multiple challenges of grid integration, and the evolution of economics and financing in the photovoltaic sector. The program is only three weeks long, requiring only two to three hours of study per week. When taken for an official certificate of completion, it costs $50.
This is an advanced course in the application of science and technology to the field of solar energy in general and photovoltaic and solar thermal energy systems in particular. The foundations of solar energy are described in detail to provide the student with the knowledge to evaluate and/or design complete solar thermal or photovoltaic energy systems. Topics range from the theoretical physical basics of solar radiation to the advanced design of both photovoltaic and solar thermal energy collectors. A major feature of the course is the understanding and design of semiconducting photovoltaic devices (solar cells). Solar cell topics include semiconductors, analysis of p-n junction, Shockley-Queisser limit, non-radiative recombination processes, antireflection coating, crystalline silicon solar cells, thin-film solar cells, and rechargeable batteries. Solar thermal energy topics include solar heat collectors, solar water heaters, solar power systems, sensible heat energy storage, phase transition thermal storage, etc. The course will also present optimizing building designs for a solar energy system. Prerequisite(s): An undergraduate degree in engineering, physics, or a related technical discipline.
While there are no global warming emissions associated with generating electricity from solar energy, there are emissions associated with other stages of the solar life-cycle, including manufacturing, materials transportation, installation, maintenance, and decommissioning and dismantlement. Most estimates of life-cycle emissions for photovoltaic systems are between 0.07 and 0.18 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour.
The Solar Energy Development PEIS will also consider environmental impacts associated with photovoltaic (PV) solar energy technologies; see the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Technologies page to learn more.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not currently have employment data for the solar power industry. However, the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of solar energy technologies to help meet the world's energy needs, estimates that in August 2010, 93,000 workers spent more than half of their work hours on projects related to solar power. The solar industry includes workers in science, engineering, manufacturing, construction, and installation. Scientists, for example, are involved in the research and development of new and more efficient materials, and engineers design new systems and improve existing technologies. Manufacturing workers make the equipment used in solar power generation, such as mirrors and panels. Construction workers build solar power plants. Electricians, plumbers, and solar photovoltaic installers install residential and commercial solar projects. The Solar Foundation estimates that the largest growth in the solar industry in 2011 will be in occupations in solar installation, including photovoltaic installers and electricians and roofers with experience in solar installation. 
Materials scientists study the structures and chemical properties of various materials to develop new products or enhance existing ones. Current research in the solar power field is focused on developing new materials, especially thin-film cells, and decreasing the cost of photovoltaic panels. Materials scientists are also seeking to increase solar panel efficiency. Efficiency refers to the percentage of available energy that is actually harnessed by the solar cells. Most modern solar cells can only harvest about 10 to 15 percent of solar energy, with some types of panels capable of 25 to 30 percent efficiency. Finally, material scientists are seeking to create building-integrated solar energy technologies that address common complaints about solar panels taking away the aesthetic appeal of a building because of their large and bulky nature.
Engineers typically enter the solar industry with a bachelor's degree in engineering. However, because of the complexity of some systems, a significant number of jobs require a master's or doctoral degree. Engineers are expected to complete continuing education and keep up with rapidly changing technology.
Manufacturing in the solar industry focuses on three technologies: concentrating solar power (CSP), photovoltaic solar power, and solar water heating. However, the vast majority of solar manufacturing firms focus mainly on photovoltaic solar power and producing photovoltaic panels. The production process for photovoltaic panels is more complex than for CSP components, and it involves complicated electronics. Making photovoltaic panels requires the work of many skilled workers, including semiconductor processors, computer-controlled machine tool operators, glaziers, and coating and painting workers. The manufacture of CSP mirrors includes many of the same occupations. 2b1af7f3a8