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Open-pv.png This page is part of an MTU graduate course MY5490/EE5490: Solar Photovoltaic Science and Engineering. Both the course documentation and the course generated content is open source. However, the course runs over Spring semesters during this time it is not open edit. Please leave comments using the discussion tab.

MY 5490/EE 5490: Solar Photovoltaic Science and Engineering

(Spring 2017): | 11:05 am - 12:20 pm | TR | Electrical Energy Resources 0214 | Jan 11, 2016 - Apr 22, 2016 |Instructor: User:J.M.Pearce

Course Overview

Solar photovoltaic materials, the device physics of photovoltaic cells and practical applications of solar electric systems engineering.

Detailed Description

This course provides a graduate level introduction to solar photovoltaic materials, the device physics of photovoltaic cells, and practical solar electric systems engineering applications. First this course will focus on semiconductor materials for photovoltaic devices, including effects of microstructure, band theory, opto-electronics, and charge transport. Then the device physics of solar photovoltaic cells will be reviewed including semiconductor junctions, principles of operation, structures, fabrication, and manufacturing of conventional, thin film, dye sensitized, and other “3rd generation” solar cells. Solar photovoltaic systems engineering will be covered in detail - including topics of: the solar resource, systems modeling/software, power conditioning equipment and system integration techniques, mechanical elements (frames, supports, orientation mechanisms, and tracking), and energy storage. Finally, solar energy systems engineering economics will be reviewed along with solar energy policy including implications of high solar penetration levels and a shift to distributed generation.

The course is meant for graduate students in Materials Science & Engineering, and Electrical & Computer Engineering, while graduate students in other areas of engineering or physics with a strong interest in this topic are also welcomed.

Credits: 3.0 Lec-Rec-Lab: (3-0-[0-3]), (3 lecture hours and 0-3 lab hours)

Required Course Material

Handouts in class, on-line reading, and emailed pdfs. See hyperlinks in schedule.

Course Organization

This course will be run as an intense seminar meeting as a group. Students will be expected to read the course material before class and actively participate in discussions. Each student will be responsible for a presentation on their topic in front of the group at the end of the semester.


Letter Grade Percentage Grade points/credit Rating
A 93% & above 4.00 Excellent
AB 88%– 92% 3.50 Very good
B 82% – 86% 3.00 Good
BC 76%– 81% 2.50 Above average
C 70% – 75% 2.00 Average
CD 65%– 69% 1.50 Below average
D 60%- 64% 1.00 Inferior
F 59% and below 0.00 Failure
I Incomplete; given only when a student is unable to complete a segment of the course because of circumstances beyond the student’s control. A grade of incomplete may be given only when approved in writing by the department chair or school dean.
X Conditional,with no grade points per credit; given only when the student is at fault in failing to complete a minor segment of a course, but in the judgment of the instructor does not need to repeat the course. It must be made up within the next semester in residence or the grade becomes a failure (F). A (X) grade is computed into the grade point average as a (F) grade.

Grading Policy

Grades will be based on the following:

Homework- Gates 300
Photovoltaic Project 500
Photovoltaic Presentation 200
Total Points 1000
Gate 1
Item Points
User page in Category 15
Photograph/bio 10
Lit review in Category 25
Proper format 25
Completeness 25
Total 100

Grading Rubric for Presentations

CONTENT: ____/50

  • Topic covered thoroughly
  • Enough information given to understand topic
  • The presentation was interesting

KNOWLEDGE : ___/30

  • Shows an understanding of the material
  • Technically competent
  • Able to answer questions
  • Additional comments:

DESIGN: ___/10

  • Very creative
  • Easy to see and follow
  • Aesthetically Appealing
  • Did not go over time limit

References: ___ /5

  • Presentation was annotated –refs in footnotes
  • Complete literature search was apparent
  • Could be reproduced

Presentation emailed on time: ____/5

TOTAL ________ /100

Grading Rubric for Papers

  • A - Ready to be submitted for peer review
  • AB - Ready to submit for peer review after minor adjustments and minor revision
  • B - Able to be submitted for peer review after a cycle of major revision
  • BC - Able to be submitted for peer review after two major revisions
  • C - Useful baseline for future work but not acceptable for submission without redoing project
  • CD - Only marginally useful to field in any respect and followed directions
  • D - Not useful but followed directions
  • F - Not useful, did not follow directions, major errors or inaccuracies, incomplete

Late Assignments

Deduct 10% per day, up to 5 working days, then 0 grade. Only exception is for documented illness. Missed projects are penalized by the negative square of the percent total.

Course Policies

Appropriate behavior, attendance, participation and collaboration with your peers on group assignments is expected. Collaboration/Plagiarism Rules Collaboration is encouraged on the group project but the individual project and exams must be completed alone. Calculators are allowed for exams but electronic communication devices are prohibited.

University Policies

Academic regulations and procedures are governed by University policy. Academic dishonesty cases will be handled in accordance the University's policies. If you have a disability that could affect your performance in this class or that requires an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please see me as soon as possible so that we can make appropriate arrangements. The Affirmative Action Office has asked that you be made aware of the following: Michigan Technological University complies with all federal and state laws and regulations regarding discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. If you have a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for equal access to education or services at Michigan Tech, please call the Dean of Students Office at 487-2212. For other concerns about discrimination, you may contact your advisor, Chair/Dean of your academic unit, or the Affirmative Programs Office at 487-3310.

Course Schedule

Please Note: Dates will be updated soon. Readings will be updated periodically before we get to the module.

Date Topic To Do
01/10 Intro, Advanced Topics Intro Choose project, Proposals Due (Mandatory) -via email by midnight
01/12 OS Research, Using Appropedia Appropedia tutorial from class, OS research presentation
01/17 Lit. Review, Zotero, Lit review presentation 1. Userpage Due, details on project
01/19 Materials 1, 2 Lit Rev. 10
01/24 Paper writing, Materials 3, Paper writing vid Lit Rev. 20
01/26 Materials 3,4, Journals Lit Rev. 30
01/31 Outline, Reviewers, Materials 5 Lit Rev. 40
02/02 Devices 1,2 -long and short 2. Lit Rev. 50 Due online
02/07 Device 2 '
02/09 No Class Winter Carnival '
02/14 Devices 3
02/16 Devices 3,4 3. Journal, Reviewers, Outline Due via email
02/21 How to make a figure to publish, Devices 5
02/23 Systems 1 4. Methods Due
02/28 Systems 2 5. Figures Due
03/02 Systems 3 6. Draft 1 Complete Due
03/07 No Class Spring Break
03/09 No Class Spring Break
03/14 *No class - watch this Industrial Processing of Si - Dr. Mayandi Drafts returned
03/16 *No class - watch this NanoSi Advanced PV - Dr. Kendrick
03/21 Simulations I,, How to get a PV job.
03/23 Systems 4 - SAM tutorial, SAM
03/28 Simulations II Nanohub simulations, PVWatts, How to Present at a Conference
03/30 Systems 5
04/04 Systems 5-6 Revised Draft Due
04/06 Advanced Topics: 1 Tutorials, Slides Due
04/11 Advanced Topics:2 Drafts returned
04/13 Advanced Topics:3
04/18 Advanced Topics:4
04/20 Advanced Topics: 5 Last Class Friendly Review Due

Advanced Topics

  • In research published this week in Nature Energy, researchers at Kaneka Corp., a resin and plastics manufacturer based in Osaka, describe the first silicon solar cell to achieve a record-breaking 26.3 percent efficiency [1]

By invitation only

  • 1 floatovoltaics - Tanmoy, Surya, Sreenija, Arpitkumar, Pravinkumar
  • 2 Community Solar - Nisham, Tyler, Ankita, Nitinkumar
  • 3 low concentration reflectors - Novia, Anup + Malaykumar and Goutham
  • 4 ARC - Nupur, Smruti
  • 4 VOS - Sreekanth
  • 5 OSE PV system - Shane
  • 5 PV IP - Siddesh

Course Reading

PV Materials Module

Why Solar PV?

Background: PV- Path to a Sustainable Future
  1. Introduction to Materials and Crystal Structure Principles of Semiconductor Devices (POSD) Chap 2.2
  2. Band Theory and Semiconductors POSD Chap.2.3
  3. Silicon c-Si, p-Si and “thin film” silicon Si Structure and Growth
  4. Thin Film PV Materials – a-Si:H, CdTe, CIGS, CIS, and InGaN The case for thin film PV, Thin Film Review
  5. Polymers, Quantum Dots, Photosynthesis, and NASA materials Polymer based PV, Quantum DOT PV, Artificial Photosynthesis Basic Research Needs for Solar Energy Utilization

PV Device Module

Background: PVCD Chap 4

Recommended Books



  1. Doping and P/N Junctions PVCD Chap. 5, 6,POSD 4.2-4.6
  2. P-I-N, N-I-P, Schottky Junctions POSD 4.7, POSD 3.1-3.7
  3. PV Devices and Engineering limitations
  4. Dye-sensitized PV Cells Dye-sensitized solar cells
  5. Multi-junction solar cells- III–V multijunction solar cells for concentrating photovoltaics, current records

PV Systems Module

Background: Category:Photovoltaics
53 GW solar market in 2015; SunEdison's US$4 billion factory in India
That’s a huge disconnect, considering that solar was 53 percent of new U.S. generating capacity in the first half of 2014.
This beats natural gas, and continues to throw new megawatts onto the grid at the average of one home every 2.5 minutes.
PV Exploding 2015

Recommended Books:

  • Steven J. Strong and William G. Scheller, The Solar Electric House: Energy for the Environmentally- Responsive, Energy-Independent Home, by Chelsea Green Pub Co; 2nd edition, 1994. (initial design and contacting a certified installer)
  • Richard J. Komp, and John Perlin, Practical Photovoltaics: Electricity from Solar Cells, Aatec Pub., 3.1 edition, 2002. (A layman’s treatment).
  • Roger Messenger and Jerry Ventre, Photovoltaic Systems Engineering, CRC Press; 3rd edition (February 26, 2010) (Comprehensive specialized engineering of PV systems).
  • Photovoltaics: Design & Installation Manual by SEI Solar Energy International, 2004.


  1. The Solar Resource-Solar resource measurement for PV applications PV CDROM Chap 2,8
  2. SPVOL - Engineering I – Inverters and BOS Sandia PV design spreadsheets 1-5, 6-9,AC/DC
  3. SPVOL – Engineering II – BIPV, PV/T and new applications PVT Review 2009, PV and sustainable development, Microinverters
  4. Solar photovoltaic software, RETScreen, RETScreen tutorial, Tilted array spacing
  5. SPVOL – Economics - LCOE Review of solar levelized cost,SAM, The Threat of Microgrids to Utilities, FERC: Almost all new energy is Solar, 2014 Goldman Sachs and PV, PV as Security -- U.S. Solar Market Grows 41%, Has Record Year in 2013 Going Solar in US 2015 report, Google Project Sunroof
  6. SPVOL - Environment and LCA of PV - “Net Energy Analysis For Sustainable Energy Production From Silicon Based Solar Cells”

Adding to course content

When you create a page add {{MY5490}} to the top of the page to get the course notice.


The Solar Jobs Census 2016 found that solar employment increased by over 51,000 workers, a 25 percent increase over 2015. Overall, the Solar Jobs Census found there were 260,077 solar workers in 2016. Solar industry employment has nearly tripled since the first National Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010.[2]

Solar Photovoltaic Specific jobs

Look for top companies by category at

Other resources


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