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Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

Elements of Solar Energy Conversion

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and NPTEL via Swayam


This course intends to introduce the basic concepts required for the engineers to work in the field of solar energy technology, both industrial installations and research endeavours. The major focus is on the following topics: the apparent movement of the sun, irradiation prediction, intensity estimation on tilted plane, flat plate collectors, concentrating collectors of various kinds, thermal and photovoltaic routes of solar energy conversion. The course assumes basic knowledge in UG level thermodynamics, optics, semiconductor physics, heat transfer and engineering mathematics. The advanced UG ME students and the PG ME students intending to work in the solar energy field should opt for this course.
NonePREREQUISITES : Basic UG thermodynamics, UG heat transfer, basic electronics, basic engineering mathematicsINDUSTRIES SUPPORT :Any solar energy based company. Such a course is non-existent in most curricula in India and it was the industry persons whose suggestions initiated the course.



Week 1:Basic concepts related to solar radiation, the sun, spectral distribution, sun- earth relationship, extraterrestrial radiation, revolution of earth, seasons, position of sun in the sky, position of sun with respect to the center of the earthWeek 2:Concept of time, equation of time, solar time, standard time, Role of atmosphere on solar radiation, air mass, terrestrial spectrum, prediction of solar radiationWeek 3:Diffuse and direct radiation, derivation of the relationships between anglesWeek 4:Sign conventions, angle of incidence on a tilted plane, shading, sun-path diagram, overhangs, parallel rows of solar collectors, measurement of radiation
Week 5:Estimation of total irradiance on a tilted surface, radiation augmentationWeek 6:Flat plate collector, thermal analysis, heat removal factorWeek 7:Air heaters, thermal analysis of air heaters, overview of other thermal collectors, testing procedureWeek 8:Single axis tracking, concentrating collectors, theoretical limit, classifications of concentrators
Week 9:Parabolic trough collector, thermal analysis, compound parabolic concentrators, parabolic dish collector, central receiver towerWeek 10:Non-thermal routes for solar energy conversion, Basics of photovoltaic effect, Electron-hole carrier formation and motionWeek 11:Band bending, photovoltaic generation, P-N junction diode, forward Bias, reverse biasWeek 12:Dark current, light-generated current, IV characteristic curve for P-N junction diodes, efficiency, effect of temperature intensity and spectrum, Comparative discussion on different solar conversion technologies in the state of the art form and the future directions

Taught by

Prof. Jishnu Bhattacharya

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