Course Description – A Guide to Photovoltaic Fundamentals
The production of a small amount of current by certain solid compounds when exposed to light was first discovered in the 1840’s. With the space race, photovoltaics developed into an exotic technology used almost exclusively on satellites in space. Now photovoltaic technology has developed into rapidly expanding energy markets. This course briefly accounts the history of using photovoltaics for solar energy generation, and describes the general scientific characteristics of photovoltaic (PV) technology including the physical laws that govern its ability to convert sunlight into electricity, and the materials and molecular structures used to construct solar cells. This course also outlines a variety of solar module configurations (arrays), comparing their capacities in different applications; and briefly describes solar storage devices such as batteries.
This course is based on the publication Photovoltaic Fundamentals.
This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end which is intended 6 hours of professional development.
At the conclusion of this course, the student will have learned or been exposed to the following:
• An Overview of Photovoltaic Progress
• Photovoltaic Market Growth
• The Photovoltaic Effect
• Energy form the Sun
• An Atomic Description of Silicon
• Light Absorption: Creating Charge Carriers
• Forming the Electric Field: Driving Charge Carriers
• Energy Band Gaps
• Solar Cells
• Single-Crystal Silicon Cells
• Semicrystalline and Polycrystalline Silicon Cells
• Thin-film Solar Cells
• Gallium Arsenide Solar Cells
• Multijunction Devices
• Flat-Plate Collectors
• Concentrator Collectors
• Balance of Systems