Course Name: Solar Photovoltaic: Fundamentals, Technologies and Applications
Department : Energy Science and Engineering
Professor Name : Prof. Chetan S. Solanki
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Solar Photovoltaic: Fundamentals, Technologies and Applications, is a basic level course in the area of energy science and engineering. Graduation in science or engineering or equivalent is the prerequisite for the course.

This course is divided in three main categories related to solar Photovoltaic technologies; Fundamental of solar photovoltaics, Solar photovoltaic technologies, and Solar photovoltaic systems and applications.

First the students are introduced to fundamentals of solar photovoltaics through introduction of semiconductor physics. This is elaborated by detailed analysis of P-N junction and its operation under illumination. Basic understanding of the working principle of solar cells is provided which enables one to understand the limitation of solar cells in terms of energy conversion efficiency. Design of solar cells and impact of design on cell parameters such as open circuit voltage, short circuit current, fill factor and cell efficiency is discussed.

The solar PV technology section, includes the prevalent technologies in the industries as well as state-of-the-art technologies that are being developed in the research laboratories. Detailed discussion about Si production is provided. Solar photovoltaic technologies based on mono- and multi-crystalline Si wafer as well as thin-film solar cell technologies are then discussed. Thin film solar cell technologies based on crystalline Si, amorphous-Si, CdTe and CIGS are discussed.

Towards the end of the course solar photovoltaic systems and applications are discussed. All elements of solar photovoltaics systems are described briefly that includes solar panels, batteries, charge controller and DC to AC converters. Various examples of PV system designs are given with example calculations to determine the battery and PV panel sizing. Maximum power point tracking schemes are also discussed.

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Solar Photovoltaic (PV) as Power Source:

  • Basic energy units eV, kWh and ToE, energy scenario of the world, energy scenario of India, renewable way of energy conversion, place of solar PV in overall energy scenario, potential of solar PV.

Review of Semiconductor Fundamentals:

  • Arrangement of atoms in space, unit cells and crystals, planes and direction
  • Arrangement of electrons in energy levels, Bohr atomic model, formation of energy bands,
  • Arrangement of electrons in energy levels, Bohr atomic model, formation of energy bands, energy gap, conduction and valence band

Charge Carriers and their Numbers:

  • Electrons and holes, free electrons, controlling charge carrier concentration by doping, p-type and n-type semiconductor,
  • Density of energy states, Fermi-Dirac distribution, carrier distribution in energy levels, equilibrium electron and hole concentration

Charge Carriers Concentration and their Motion:

  • Density of energy states, Fermi-Dirac distribution, carrier distribution in energy levels, equilibrium electron and hole concentration, product of no and po, temperature effect on carrier concentration
  • Drift velocity, mobility of carriers, drift current and current density, electron and hole mobility of materials (Si, GaAs, CdTe etc.), conductivity and resistivity,

Charge Carriers Concentration and their Motion:

  • Hall effect, estimation of carrier concentration and carrier mobility in semiconductor,
  • Diffusion of carriers; concentration gradient and diffusion, diffusion flux, diffusion coefficient, diffusion current density of electrons and holes, diffusion length, relationship between mobility and diffusion coefficient, constancy of Fermi level
  • Absorption coefficient and absorption length for different materials, radiation intensity, and generation rate of electron hole pairs

Charge Carriers Concentration and their Motion:

  • Excess charge carrier density, lifetime of carriers, rate of recombination, mechanism of recombination, recombination at surface and in bulk, continuity equation

Continuity Equation and Formation of P-N Junction:

  • Continuity equation, presence and absence of light, presence and absence of concentration gradient, minority carrier diffusion equation,
  • Concept of P-N junction, formation of space charge region, P-N junction under equilibrium condition

P-N-junction under Bias and its Governing Equation:

  • Biasing P-N Junction and regions of voltage drop, Forward biasing and reverse biasing,
  • I-V relationship for P-N Junction, Quantitative and qualitative analysis of I-V relationship, Concept of diffusion length, Deviation of I-V curve from its ideal behavior
  • Continuity equation for junction, minority carrier injection, excess minority carriers at the depletion region edge, diffusion current due to carrier injection in P and N semiconductor, I-V relationship for P-N Junction
  • Illumination of P-N junction diode, generation of photo voltage (photovoltaic effect)

Solar Cell Parameters and Power Ratings:

  • Solar cell as power source, Solar cell as power source, Carrier concentration profile in solar cells, Current-voltage relationship of solar cells, Isc, Voc, FF and η of solar cells
  • Power rating of solar cells, input power, peak output/rated power

Solar Cell Design:

  • Solar spectrum, solar cell efficiency, solar cell structure and terminology used in solar cells, upper limit of solar cell parameters, upper limits of Isc, upper limit of Voc and Upper limit of FF, upper limit of cell efficiency.
  • Losses in solar cells,electrical losses and optical losses, recombination losses, resistive losses, design of solar cell for high Isc, impact of solar spectrum on Isc, area and Isc, absorption of light and absorption coefficient, absorption length, carrier generation profile and carrier collection probability at junction, quantum efficiency of solar cells
  • Examples of quantum efficiency of different cells, optical losses in solar cell, minimization of reflection losses, antireflection coating design, material for ARC, surface texturing and light trapping in solar cells
  • Design for high open circuit voltage, surface recombination velocity (SRV), effect of base and emitter recombination on voltage, Back Surface Field (BSF)
  • Design for high FF, metal-semiconductor ohmic contacts, resistive losses, metal contact design, series resistance and FF, shunt resistance and FF.

Production of Si:

  • Current status of Si production in world, Types of Si, Purification routes of Si, MGS to EGS conversion, Poly-Si to Crystalline SI conversion, Si ingot to wafers, SoG Si and Si sheets
  • Shapes of Si wafers, Si ingot to wafers, ID sawing and wire sawing, SoG Si, production methods for SoG, Si sheets from powder

Evolution of Si Cell Technology:

  • Early solar cells (before 1950), implanted junction and diffused junction, metal contact design, violet cell, cell after 1970s, black cells, improved surface passivation, texturing
  • Industrial Si solar cell structure
  • Buried contact solar cells, point contact solar cells, passivated emitter and rear contact (PERC), passivated emitter and rear locally diffused (PERL), passivated emitter and rear totally diffused (PERT) cells, summary of features of high efficiency solar cells
  • Generic industrial cell processes, description of processes used in industrial production

Fabrication of Si Cells and Thin Film Technologies:

  • Fabrication steps used in industrial cell process, surface texturing, diffusion and its parameters, ARC deposition, metal printing, contact firing,
  • Thin film technologies, advantages of thin film technologies.

Thin film Technologies:

  • Generic advantages of thin- film technologies, Materials for thin film technologies, Thin film deposition techniques, P-N or P-I-N junction, TCO, substrate configurations,
  • a-Si thin film solar cell technology, Optical and electrical properties of a-Si, Structure of a-Si solar cell
  • Aubstrate and Superstrate configuration, generic fabrication of thin film modules
  • a-Si thin film solar cell technology, Optical and electrical properties of a-Si, dark and light conductivity, StaeblerWronski effect, Structure of a-Si solar cell, a-Si / microcrystalline Si tandem cell
  • CdTe and CIGS solar cells, optical properties and device structure
  • Introduction to CdTe and CIGS solar cells, optical properties and device structure,
  • Introduction to thin film c-Si technologies, summary of thin film technologies, Micro-crystalline and poly-crystalline Si , Large grain multi-crystalline Si, Wafer equivalent c-Si thin film
  • Overview of thin film technologies, cost, market and performance perspective

Solar PV Modules:

  • Series and parallel connection of cells, number of cells in a module, power rating of PV modules, STC and NOC for PV modules, packing density, bypass diode and blocking diode, mismatch losses and series and parallel connection of cells in module, impact of radiation and temperature on PV module performance, fabrication of PV modules

Solar PV System Design:

  • Types of PV systems, standalone and grid connected systems, different application of PV modules, energy estimation for a given application, design of standalone PV system
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  • Basic Knowledge of Science and Engineering
  • A Bachelor's Degree or Higher in Science or Engineering (Energy/Electrical/Mechanical/Electronics)

Lectures list

References Some Reading Material and References:
  • Solid State Electronic Devices, Ben Streetman, Person Education, 2000

  • Solar Photovoltaics: Fundamentals, Technologies and Applications, Chetan S. Solanki, Prentice Hall of India, 2009

  • Physics of Semiconductor Devices, S. M. Sze, John Wiley and Sons, 2nd edition


  • Physics of Solar Cells, J. Nelson, Imperial College Press, UK, 2003

  • Solar Cells: Operating Principles, Technology and System Applications, M. Green, UNSW Bookshop

  • Silicon Solar Cells: Advanced Principles and Practice, M.A. Green, UNSW Bookshop

  • Semiconductors for Solar cells: H.J. Moller, Artech House Inc., MA, USA, 1993.

  • Thin-film Crystalline SiliconSolar Cells: Physics and Technology, R. Brendel, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2003

  • Organic Photovoltaics: Concepts and realization, C. Barbec, V. Dyakonov, J. Parisi, N.S. Sarictifttci, Springer-Verlag 2003

  • Battery Technology Handbook, edited by H.A. Kiehne, Marcel Dekker, New York, 1989

  • Photovoltaic Systems Engineering (2nd Ed.), R.A. Messenger and Jerry Ventre, CRC press, 2003

  • Crystalline Silicon Solar Cell, A. Goetzberger, J. Knowbloch and B. Voss, Jhon Willy and Sons Lltd. 1998

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