edX: Solar Energy

 with  Arno Smets

In the third edition of Solar Energy, you will learn to design a complete photovoltaic system. This course introduces the technology that converts solar energy into electricity, heat and solar fuels with a main focus on electricity generation. Photovoltaic (PV) devices are presented as advanced semiconductor devices that deliver electricity directly from sunlight. The emphasis is on understanding the working principle of a solar cell, fabrication of solar cells, PV module construction and the design of a PV system. You will gain a greater understanding of the principles of the photovoltaic conversion— the conversion of light into electricity. This course explores the advantages, limitations and challenges of different solar cell technologies, such as crystalline silicon solar cell technology, thin film solar cell technologies and the latest novel solar cell concepts as studied on lab-scale. We will discuss the specifications of solar modules and demonstrate how to design a complete solar system for any particular application.

Education Method

The class will consist of a collection of eight to twelve minute lecture videos, exercises, assignments and exams. Specified assignments and the three exams will determine the final grade. The new textbook on “Solar Energy, basics, technology and systems” from the Delft University of Technology will be available for the students on-line and free of charge. Your course staff will encourage and challenge you to learn from, and interact with, your fellow students by helping each other and sharing ideas and best practices, in the course forum. We were happy to see the incredible number of interesting student videos on solar energy systems from all over the world in the previous edition of this course. 

Professor Smets was the first ever recipient of the edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions to Online Teaching and Learning. His previous online courses attracted over 150,000 students worldwide, who were inspired to take their first steps in the transition to renewable energy. 


The course materials of this course are Copyright Delft University of Technology and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA) 4.0 International License.


Week 1 Introduction to Solar Energy Assignments 1
Week 2 Working Principle of a Semiconductor based Solar Cell Assignments 2
Week 3 Solar Cell Operation, Performance and Design Rules Exam 1
Week 4 PV technology Based on Crystalline Silicon Wafers Assignments 3
Week 5 Thin-Film PV technologies Assignments 4
Week 6 Third Generation PV and Other Ways to Utilize Solar Energy Exam 2
Week 7 PV Systems-Components and Concepts Assignments 5
Week 8 PV Systems- Application and Design Exam 3
7 Student
Cost Free Online Course
Pace Self Paced
Subject Physics
Provider edX
Language English
Certificates $50 Certificate Available
Hours 8 hours a week
Calendar 8 weeks long

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FAQ View All
What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

7 reviews for edX's Solar Energy

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
João Paulo completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
The course of Solar Energy provided by Delft University and Edx online is a great opportunity to know about the semiconductor materials, PV technologies and how the whole system of Solar Energy works. For me was a excellent experience and highly recommend.
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful
4 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
i´m very interested in this class. The teacher is very funny and the topic, of course are very good. If i finish the next step, i will recivied certificate university delft in my computer. it´s free.
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
Felipe Nogueira Sponfeldner partially completed this course.
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a year ago
M A I Yousuf partially completed this course.
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2 years ago
Sandro Abdelhafith completed this course.
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2 years ago
Heey completed this course.
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2 years ago
Nico Goussetis is taking this course right now.
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