Master programme

Solar energy

Participating studies: Mechanical Engineering (MSc-ME), Sustainable Energy Technology (MSc-SET), Chemical Engineering (MSc-CHE), Industrial Design Engineering (MSc-IDE)

Have acquired detailed knowledge of irradiance, photovoltaic (PV) solar systems and their basic elements - solar cells - at the level of technology experts; (ii) Are able to understand the functioning of PV solar systems and PV cells in the context of applications; (iii) Are able to apply the knowledge acquired in the evaluation of new developments in research of solar systems and PV cells.

Course description

First an introduction will be given to a number of possible applications of solar energy and the environmental effects of solar energy will be discussed. Subsequently topics related to irradiance, PV systems, components such as inverters and batteries will be presented along with methods to size PV systems. The basic component of PV systems, namely the PV module will receive special attention.

Because semi-conductors are crucial for solar cells their properties will be discussed as well as the most simple semi-conductor structure that can be made of this material, the diode. The composition, functioning and the most important properties of solar cells will be discussed by means of a classical crystalline silicon solar cell. The most important loss mechanisms in solar cells will be mentioned. Most common solar cells will be discussed in detail: multi-crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, CIS, CdTe and organic solar cells. To end with GaAs solar cells and their applications in concentrator systems and space applications will be presented.



Credits (ECTS)



dr. A.H.M.E. Reinders



dr. A.H.M.E. Reinders

Description of the educational material

Book : Archer, M.D. and Hill, R., Cheap Electricity from Photovoltaics, Imperial College Press, 2001
Blackboard site
Powerpoint presentations of the lectures and handouts


The course consists of 7 lectures of 2 or 4 hours in combination with assignments. The course will be completed with a written examination. The final mark for the course is based on the assignments and the examination.