Department

Electrical Engineering

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-2016

Embargo Period

7-3-2018

Abstract

Solar energy has become one of the major renewable energy sources to meet a significant portion of the global energy demand in the near future. The photovoltaic (PV) industry is growing at a fast pace and is predicted to reach tera-watt scale power production capacity by 2050. Thus, creating highly qualified engineers by providing effective hands-on education is of primary importance. This paper discusses on the design, fabrication, and implementation of a low-cost, portable, and programmable solar module to improve the student learning outcomes of a solar power and renewable energy course by facilitating hands-on experiments. Solar cells within the smart module can be electronically interconnected in various configurations and I-V characteristics of the resulting module or any individual cell can be measured using integrated microcontroller and measurement circuits interfaced by a LabVIEW-based interactive data acquisition software. The developed plug-and-play smart solar module is an affordable and effective teaching tool that can be used for in-class demonstrations or to perform hands-on experiments. An experiment-based project was included into the course syllabus where students perform solar cell I-V characterization and extract the cell parameters by analyzing the experimental data. Student perception on the learning outcome and the impact of the project were measured based on student feedback. All of the students found that the experiment-based project helped them to reinforce the theoretical knowledge and a majority of the students believe that the learning outcomes of the course would be incomplete without it.

Journal

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Journal ISSN

2153-5965

Issue

2016

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.18260/p.26800

Comments

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference.

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