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Hack the sun.jpg This page was part of an MTU course MY5970/EE5900: Solar Hacking: Photovoltaic Materials, Cells and Systems Engineering

Please leave comments using the discussion tab. The course runs over Spring semester 2012. It is not open edit.

MY 5970/EE 5900-Solar Hacking: Photovoltaic Materials, Cells and Systems Engineering[edit | edit source]

(Spring 2012)

Instructor: User:J.M.Pearce

Course Overview[edit | edit source]

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

Detailed Description[edit | edit source]

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. Finally 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[edit | edit source]

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

Course Organization[edit | edit source]

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.

Grading[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Grades will be based on the following:

Homework 100
Photovoltaic Project 200
Photovoltaic Presentation 100
Total Points 400

Late Assignments[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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

Week Date Topic To Do
1 01/09/12 Intro, Advanced Topics Intro, Using Appropedia Choose Topic
2 01/16/12 MLK No classes Create userpage
3 01/23/12 Materials 1-2, How to Lit. Review, Zotero Lit. review
4 01/30/12 Materials 3-4 Lit. review
5 02/06/12 Materials 5, Paper writing Lit. review
6 02/13/12 Devices 1-2, Journal, Reviewers Lit. review fin
7 02/20/12 Devices 3-4, Outline, Methods -long and short, How to make a figure to publish Journals, Reviewers
8 02/27/12 Devices 5* Outline, " Multijunction Mistakes"
9 03/05/12 Spring Break
10 03/12/12 Systems 1-2 Methods, multijunction mistakes
11 03/19/12 Systems 3-4 RETScreen tutorial
12 03/26/12 Systems 5-6 Draft 1
13 04/02/12 Advanced topic 1-3 MY5970 presentation grading rubric Revisions
14 04/09/12 Advanced topic 4-6 MY5970 presentation grading rubric Revisions
15 04/16/12 Advanced topic 7-9 MY5970 presentation grading rubric Friendly review
04/20/12 Final Draft

Course Reading[edit | edit source]

Why Solar?[edit | edit source]

PV Materials Module[edit | edit source]

  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[edit | edit source]

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. Dye-sensitized PV Cells Dye-sensitized solar cells
  4. PV Devices and Engineering limitations
  5. Multi-junction solar cells- III–V multijunction solar cells for concentrating photovoltaics

PV Systems Module[edit | edit source]

Background: Category:Photovoltaics

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
  4. Solar photovoltaic software, RETScreen, RETScreen tutorial
  5. SPVOL – Economics - LCOE Review of solar levelized cost,SAM, BIPV economics
  6. SPVOL - Environment and LCA of PV - "Net Energy Analysis For Sustainable Energy Production From Silicon Based Solar Cells"

Advanced Topic Module[edit | edit source]

  1. TBA


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