Solar Energy: Photovoltaic (PV) Energy Conversion

Course 1 of 5: MicroMasters® Program in Solar Energy Engineering 12 weeks total 10 - 11 hours per week
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About this course

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.

What You Will Learn

  • The principles behind the potential loss mechanisms in photovoltaic devices
  • The semiconductor physics necessary to understand solar cell performance and engineering
  • The optics and light management tools necessary for optimal solar cell design
  • To model all aspects of a working solar cell, understanding the efficiency limits and design rules
  • Audit learners can develop their skills and knowledge in relation to the above learning objectives by having access to the video lectures, a limited number of practice exercises and discussion forums.
  • Verified learners are offered a number of study tools to demonstrate they have mastered the learning objectives. They will have access to all exercises: practice, graded and exam questions.

Prerequisites

  • Bachelor’s degree in Science or Engineering or the successful completion of TU Delft’s MOOC Solar Energy

Meet Your Instructors

Arno Smets

Professor, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science at Delft University of Technology Dr. Arno H.M. Smets is Professor in Solar Energy in the Photovoltaics Material and Devices group at the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, Delft University of Technology. From 2005-2010 he worked at the Research Center for Photovoltaics at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tsukuba Japan. His research work is focused on processing of thin silicon films, innovative materials and new concepts for photovoltaic applications. He is lecturer for BSc and MSc courses on Photovoltaics and Sustainable Energy at TU Delft. His online edX course on Solar Energy attracted over 150,000 students worldwide. He is co-author of the book “Solar Energy. The physics and engineering of photovoltaic conversion technologies and systems.” Professor Smets was awarded the first ever edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions to Online Teaching and Learning for his Solar Energy course. To learn more, visit here.

Miro Zeman

Head of the Electrical Sustainable Energy department at TU Delft
Professor Miro Zeman is the head of the Electrical Sustainable Energy department at the TU Delft faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science. His research interests encompass the development of novel materials and concepts for the improvement of thin-film silicon solar cell performance and modeling of devices based on amorphous semiconductors. Since receiving his PhD in 1989 he was in charge of more than 30 Dutch and 6 European projects dealing with the development of thin-film solar cells and technology for their fabrication. He has authored and co-authored more than 270 scientific publications; he contributed to 3 scientific books. He acts as a reviewer for several scientific journals. He regularly attends world conferences on advanced materials and photovoltaics in Europe, USA, Japan and China, where he contributed with more than 80 presentations. He is co-author of the book “Solar Energy. The physics and engineering of photovoltaic conversion technologies and systems.”

René van Swaaij

Associate Professor, Photovoltaics Material and Devices at TU Delft
Dr. René van Swaaij is associate professor in the Photovoltaics Material and Devices group at the TU Delft faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science. He is the programme director of the master programme Sustainable Energy Technology. His research interests lie mainly with the processing of silicon based solar cells and the physics underlying the operation of these cells. He is in charge of several projects in the field of thin-film silicon solar cells and lectures on semiconductor device physics in BSc and MSc courses. René has authored and co-authored more than 100 journal and conference papers is and is co-author of the book “Solar Energy. The physics and engineering of photovoltaic conversion technologies and systems.”
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Experience Level

Advanced

Learning Partner

Delft University of Technology

Program Type

MicroMasters®