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Photovoltaics and Solar Thermal Technology - ELE00095H

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  • Department: Electronic Engineering
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Mahmoud Dhimish
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2024-25

Module summary

This module introduces the facts governing the nature, availability and characteristics of the solar resources and the fundamental concepts of photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal conversion. The conversion technologies are examined critically in terms of design, efficiency, manufacturing options and costs. Students will be exposed to advanced knowledge of PV from current research into cell materials to the design, implementation, and performance assessment of complete PV systems.

Professional requirements

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information



Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

Subject content aims:

  • To understand the principles of operation, generation capacity, design, and operational issues of photovoltaics (PV) systems.

  • To understand the principles of solar thermal technologies' operation, design, and operational issues.

  • To evaluate the operation of PV and solar thermal energy systems using data analytical and statistical techniques.

  • To demonstrate state-of-the-art industrial case studies relating to PV and solar thermal energy systems.

  • To reinforce learning through laboratory investigations.

Graduate skills aims:

  • To understand the wide variety of current options available for PV installations and solar thermal energy systems.

  • Measure solar energy generator output power and efficiency.

  • To instil professional laboratory working practice.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Describe the working mechanisms of PV and solar thermal energy systems.

  • Build PV power generation model in MATLAB/Simulink.

  • Describe factors affecting the efficiency of PV and solar thermal energy systems.

  • Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of different PV technologies.

  • Identify and explore tools to analyse PV and solar energy systems data.

Graduate skills learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • State basic technical concepts concisely and accurately.

  • Compare and contrast different technologies.

  • Plan and manage their time in a laboratory setting.

Module content

Professional Practice embedded into this module:

  • Health and Safety

  • Laboratory Practice

  • Written communication skills

  • Personal and Group Skills

  • Design for Manufacturability (understanding of tolerances, material limitations)

  • Engineering standards and Regulation


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Closed exam : Photovoltaics and Solar Thermal Technology
2 hours 70
N/A 30

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information



Module feedback

'Feedback’ at a university level can be understood as any part of the learning process which is designed to guide your progress through your degree programme. We aim to help you reflect on your own learning and help you feel more clear about your progress through clarifying what is expected of you in both formative and summative assessments. A comprehensive guide to feedback and to forms of feedback is available in the Guide to Assessment Standards, Marking and Feedback.

The School of PET aims to provide some form of feedback on all formative and summative assessments that are carried out during the degree programme. In general, feedback on any written work/assignments undertaken will be sufficient so as to indicate the nature of the changes needed in order to improve the work. The School will endeavour to return all exam feedback within the timescale set out in the University's Policy on Assessment Feedback Turnaround Time. The School would normally expect to adhere to the times given, however, it is possible that exceptional circumstances may delay feedback. The School will endeavour to keep such delays to a minimum. Please note that any marks released are subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners and Senate. Meetings at the start/end of each term provide you with an opportunity to discuss and reflect with your supervisor on your overall performance to date.

Feedback Statement:

(i) Formative Feedback

1. Regular labs allow you to engage with the MATLAB/Simulink model and receive verbal help and feedback on your Simulink modelling.

2. After-class learning materials (webpage, YouTube linkage) on the module Wiki page help you to gain feedback on your understanding of the key module material covered in the lectures.

3. 11 workshops are arranged to help you to develop your application of PV systems design and prepare you for the closed-book examination.

4. Emails to the Module Coordinator with questions/comments will be answered as soon as possible.

5. A draft version of your assignment can be submitted to the module coordinator before the end of term, who will confirm whether this is all in the correct format, along with some general written feedback comments, and a series of recommendations for improvement.

(ii) Summative Feedback

You will receive a customised feedback sheet, showing the mark breakdown in each of the key areas being assessed along with personalised feedback and suggestions for improvement. The comments explain how well you have met the learning objectives, and also give you feedback about the things you could improve in future assignments).

Indicative reading

  1. Jenkins, N., & Ekanayake, J. (2017). Renewable energy engineering. Cambridge University Press.

  2. Reinders, A., Verlinden, P., Van Sark, W., & Freundlich, A. (2017). Photovoltaic solar energy: from fundamentals to applications. John Wiley & Sons.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.