Solar Energy Technology is the one of fastest growing technology in the world. From having small scale niche applications a decade ago, it is becoming one of the mainstream sources of energy. However, because of lack of knowledge and training, many of us are unaware in best utilizing solar energy systems and this includes many solar product suppliers. This lack of knowledge is often on display in the form of wrongly oriented PV panels. As a result, the PV system output is greatly reduced. Poorly designed systems also increase the cost of installation.
This course on solar energy technology for business was designed mainly for people who would like to start a solar energy product business, but do not have the technical knowledge to do so. This course can also benefit someone who wants to become the end user of solar energy.
The course will help you identify the right products for yourself or customers/ clients. It will help you design the systems correctly to meet customer’s requirement. Currently, bulk of the solar energy product businesses are operated by people who have little understanding of optimization of solar energy systems. And therefore many solar products are sold and systems are designed that either do not meet customers demand or do it very inefficiently.
This course will not only help in bridging the knowledge gap but also give you an edge over other solar product suppliers in the market.
How is the course structured?
The course is divided into four sections. The largest section of the course is related to understanding the nature of solar energy and how to best harness it.
Later sections explore two of the main solar products i.e. Solar Photo-voltaic and Solar Water Heaters. The course also touches on solar desalination, which will become an important technology in the future because of fresh water shortage.
Practical considerations for installing solar collectors have also been explored.
The course is delivered in the form of whiteboard animation videos. It should be noted that whiteboard animation is deemed as one of the most engaging ways of delivering lectures.
The development of whiteboard animations takes significantly more time compared to simple PowerPoints with voiceovers. Quizzes have been added to test students’ knowledge and notes, useful website links and charts have been made available in the resources section.
Who should take this course?
This course is for all levels and can be completed by anyone with basic knowledge of science. You should also have the ability to calculations of simple equations. Other than that, curiosity and interest in the field of solar energy will help you gain the most out of this course.
The content tries to remain focused on more practical considerations rather than delving into more academic details.
It is hoped that through this course, the students will not only be able to benefit themselves but also benefit the community around them in using solar energy. They will be able to provide consultancy to customers and even land themselves a job with their local solar product supplier.
This is a truly empowering course that will open up new vistas and opportunities for you to explore.
In this lecture Solar Energy Course for Business will be introduced. The contents of the course will be briefly discussed. This course is for all levels and will help students with curiosity to learn about solar energy technology. The highlight of the course is the study of solar energy resource. Further details on the course are discussed in the audio file in the resources section for this lecture.
In this lecture, history of both Solar thermal technology and Solar PV technology is discussed. Solar energy has been used for time immemorial. From the time our ancestors were hunter gatherers to the time civilization became agrarian, solar energy has been an integral part of our progress.
Our biggest utilization of solar energy comes in the form of growing crops and using bio-mass. There is a great scope for harnessing solar energy for heat and electricity.
In this lecture, solar radiation is explored and how its abundance can help solve one of mankind's biggest problem.
In this lecture, the movement of the sun across the sky has been explored. Solar collectors are the most efficient when they are positioned such that sun rays land perpendicular on their surface. As the sun moves across the sky, it is important to track it. If tracking is not an option, than the best angle should be worked out at which solar radiation will remain perpendicular or near perpendicular for the most time during the year.
In this lecture, the nature of solar radiation as it falls on the surface of the earth is discussed. Incident solar radiation on a surface is called insolation in short. As sun rays enters the atmosphere, they get attenuated. As a result, the amount of solar energy reaching the surface is much less than solar constant (1357 w/m2). The three components of solar insolation are also discussed namely, direct, diffuse and reflected.
There are many tools for determining the amount of solar radiation falling over an area. These tools are virtual as well as physical. Both of them have been discussed in this lecture. Virtual tools are software and pre-recorded datasets. Physical tools include metering instruments like pyranometers and pyrheliometers. There are hand held meters also that can furnish solar flux values fairly accurately.
This is a very important lecture. This lecture covers the method by which optimal angle for maximizing solar gain can be evaluated. The lecture is applicable for all solar products (solar PV, solar water heater and solar cooker etc)
Solar PV is a fascinating technology. This article explores how the technology has progressed in the past 70 years and what future this technology holds. Solar PV is dominated by Silicon (monocrystalline and polycrystalline) based panels. China manufactures more than 65% of the panels used around the world. The cost of the solar cells have dropped almost 100 times in the last 60 years.
This lecture looks at some of the Photo-voltaic products available in the market. These include silicon panels, multi-junction solar cells, organic solar cells and Pervoskite solar cells. Most expensive are the multi-junction solar cells and are mostly used in satellites. The most efficient solar panels used in the domestic/commercial sector are Sunpower inc. panels. They are 23.4% efficient.
In this lecture we will be looking at Inverters. In a Solar AC system, Inverters are the central component be it an off line system, an online system or a hybrid system. There are a wide variety of inverters available in the market. This lecture will explain, which inverter is suitable for a particular application.
Solar Water Heater have the potential to give the biggest return on investment among all solar products. This article explores one of the oldest solar products. In many countries, feed-in tariffs for solar heat are being considered. Many in regions, new building regulation include some form of solar heating.
Inter-seasonal storage heating has proven to be a success in many cold climate countries. This is the process in which water is heated and stored during the summer period and used during the cold winter periods.
In this lecture, different types of Solar Water Heaters and different types of plumbing systems have been explored. There are at least four different types of solar water heaters available in the market. Each has its own utility for a particular application.
This lecture looks at one of the biggest problem mankind is facing i.e. Fresh Water Shortage. The solutions are also discussed. The biggest solution to this problem is utilization of solar desalination technology. If fossil fuels are used for desalinating sea water, than a lot of energy is consumed and high cost is incurred.
This quiz will test your knowledge on solar thermal technology
This lecture looks at the advantages of using solar cookers and ovens. Solar Cookers can be made easily or purchased from the market. The can be made in different sizes. The principals of efficient solar cookers have also been explored.
This lecture explores both AC and DC systems and wiring requirement for Solar PV. Inverters, Solar micro inventers, by-pass diodes and charge controllers have been discussed.
This article looks at some of the practical considerations for solar system installation , both PV and hot water systems.
This lecture explores how to size solar PV systems. Similar technique can be used to size up solar hot water systems. Software like RETscreen can be used for quick calculations. In this lecture, a useful hand calculation method has also been discussed.
This video lecture covers the most efficient solar cell in the lab as well as most efficient solar panels available in the market. The list for them is downloadable in the resources. It should be noted that efficiency in not the best measure of performance. ROI and suitability to weather conditions should be the main objective when designing a PV system
This lecture discusses some fast moving solar energy products. Contrary to the popular belief, there are many products that can be sold for the price range of $3 -300.
In this lecture four methods by which excessive heat build up in a PV panel can be avoided are explored. This includes the very novel idea of using Phase Change Materials or PCM.
A round up of all the major points of the course have been collated in this lecture
I graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in 2001 and since then have had a split career. I have worked both in the industry and taught in the academia. This has helped me marry the practicality of work place to the thoroughness of academic study.
I enrolled as a PhD student in 2004 (Edinburgh, UK) and completed my doctorate in 2007 in Renewable Energy (Solar Thermal)
Since then I have in my spare time conducted numerous workshops on Renewable Energy and have been an instructor for Engineers without Borders. I have taught budding Engineers both at college and University. I am a published author of two books.
Teaching is my passion alongside solving engineering challenges that can make a difference to humanity