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Delft University of Technology

Solar Energy

Delft University of Technology via edX


This course has been retired and transitioned into the _ Professional Certificate in Solar Energy _


In the third edition of Solar Energy, you will learn to design a complete photovoltaic system. This course introduces the technology that converts solar energy into electricity, heat and solar fuels with a main focus on electricity generation. Photovoltaic (PV) devices are presented as advanced semiconductor devices that deliver electricity directly from sunlight. The emphasis is on understanding the working principle of a solar cell, fabrication of solar cells, PV module construction and the design of a PV system. You will gain a greater understanding of the principles of the photovoltaic conversion— the conversion of light into electricity. This course explores the advantages, limitations and challenges of different solar cell technologies, such as crystalline silicon solar cell technology, thin film solar cell technologies and the latest novel solar cell concepts as studied on lab-scale. We will discuss the specifications of solar modules and demonstrate how to design a complete solar system for any particular application.

Education Method

The class will consist of a collection of eight to twelve minute lecture videos, exercises, assignments and exams. Specified assignments and the three exams will determine the final grade. The new textbook on “Solar Energy, basics, technology and systems” from the Delft University of Technology will be available for the students on-line and free of charge. Your course staff will encourage and challenge you to learn from, and interact with, your fellow students by helping each other and sharing ideas and best practices, in the course forum. We were happy to see the incredible number of interesting student videos on solar energy systems from all over the world in the previous edition of this course.

Professor Smets was the first ever recipient of the edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions to Online Teaching and Learning. His previous online courses attracted over 150,000 students worldwide, who were inspired to take their first steps in the transition to renewable energy.


Week 1
Introduction to Solar Energy
(Assignment 1)

Week 2
Working Principle of a Semiconductor based Solar Cell
(Assignment 2)

Week 3
Solar Cell Operation, Performance and Design Rules
(Exam 1)

Week 4
PV technology Based on Crystalline Silicon Wafers
(Assignment 3)

Week 5
Thin-Film PV technologies
(Assignment 4)

Week 6
Third Generation PV and Other Ways to Utilize Solar Energy
(Exam 2)

Week 7
PV Systems-Components and Concepts
(Assignment 5)

Week 8
PV Systems- Application and Design
(Exam 3)

Taught by

Arno Smets


4.8 rating, based on 8 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Solar Energy

  • Profile image for João Paulo
    João Paulo

    João Paulo completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    The course of Solar Energy provided by Delft University and Edx online is a great opportunity to know about the semiconductor materials, PV technologies and how the whole system of Solar Energy works. For me was a excellent experience and highly recommend.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    i´m very interested in this class. The teacher is very funny and the topic, of course are very good. If i finish the next step, i will recivied certificate university delft in my computer. it´s free.
  • B.venkatesh Reddy
    The course I very good and understand very clearly .this course is very easy. ................................ ..................................
  • Heey completed this course.

  • Felipe Nogueira Sponfeldner completed this course.

  • Nico Goussetis

    Nico Goussetis is taking this course right now.

  • Sandro Abdelhafith completed this course.

  • M A I Yousuf completed this course.

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