Elements of Solar Energy Conversion

By Prof. Jishnu Bhattacharya   |   IIT Kanpur
Learners enrolled: 2580
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.

PREREQUISITES : Basic UG thermodynamics, UG heat transfer, basic electronics, basic engineering mathematics

INDUSTRIES  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.
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Category :
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Energy Systems
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate
Start Date : 25 Jul 2022
End Date : 14 Oct 2022
Enrollment Ends : 08 Aug 2022
Exam Date : 30 Oct 2022 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

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 earth
Week 2:Concept of time, equation of time, solar time, standard time, Role of atmosphere on solar radiation, air mass, terrestrial spectrum, prediction of solar radiation
Week 3: Diffuse and direct radiation, derivation of the relationships between angles
Week 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 augmentation
Week 6:Flat plate collector, thermal analysis, heat removal factor
Week 7: Air heaters, thermal analysis of air heaters, overview of other thermal collectors, testing procedure
Week 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 tower
Week 10:Non-thermal routes for solar energy conversion, Basics of photovoltaic effect, Electron-hole carrier formation and motion
Week 11: Band bending, photovoltaic generation, P-N junction diode, forward Bias, reverse bias
Week 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

Books and references

  1. Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes, 4th Ed, Duffie and Beckman,Wiley
  2. Solar Energy, 4th Ed, Sukhatme and Nayak, McGraw-Hill Education
  3. Solar Photovoltaics, 3rd Ed, Solanki, PHI learning pvt. Ltd.
  4. Solar Energy Engineering, 2nd Ed, Kalogirou, Academic Press
  5. Solar Energy, 1st Revised ed, Garg- Prakash, McGraw-Hill Education

Instructor bio

Prof. Jishnu Bhattacharya

IIT Kanpur
Dr. Jishnu Bhattacharya is an associate professor in Mech. Engg. In IIT, Kanpur. He works in the field of energy storage and conversion through sustainable routes. He teaches courses related to thermodynamics, heat transfer, air-conditioning, atomistic simulations for energy materials, electrochemical energy storage, solar energy conversion etc. Prior to IIT Kanpur, he was associated with IIT Kharagpur, Northwestern University, University of Michigan, Indian Institute of Science and Bengal Engineering College, Shibpur in reverse chronological order.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 30 October 2022 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Kanpur. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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