In Fall 2012 ASU and QESST started a new class on the manufacture of silicon solar cells – the same type of cells used in nearly all solar photovoltaic systems installed worldwide. Students learn about modern techniques of solar cell fabrication in their classroom. Students also work as “virtual engineers” in the Virtual Solar Cell Factory – an online solar cell factory simulation – where they will have attempt to “save the company” using the manufacturing engineering science techniques being taught in their classroom.
ASU continues to install photovoltaic systems across the constituent campuses. Presently over 15 MW of capacity are installed with an expected capacity of 17 MW by the end of 2012.
Milestones as of June 30, 2012: Total Solar Generation Capacity:15.3 MW Total Solar Systems: 58
(52 on Tempe campus; 2 on West campus; 2 on Downtown campus; 2 on Polytechnic campus) Total Number of Panels and Collectors Installed: 61,203
The is more information on the individual systems at:
On June 18 twenty undergraduate students from around the country gathered to work in the silicon pilot line. The students have the task of increasing solar cell efficiency on the line by 1-2 percentage points. In industry, this level of improvement is the difference between profit and loss for a company with a production line.
On May 28th forty-nine people from ten countries converged upon Arizona State University for the International Characterization and Modeling Workshop. The attendees ranged from first year graduate students to professors and experts in the field. In all, fourteen universities and four companies were represented at the workshop.
The silicon solar cell pilot line has been in operation for over a year. This month the line formally started operation as Testbed 1: Student Led Pilot line. Pictured on the right we have the Men in White. As part of their senior design thesis they will rescue solar cells from the ravages of low efficiency and slay the dragons of low yield.
The QESST will continue until finding the holy grail of high efficiency low cost solar cells in May next year.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced an award to Arizona State University and its partners to establish a new Engineering Research Center (ERC) jointly funded by NSF and the Department of Energy (DOE): the NSF-DOE ERC for Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies (QESST). QESST will develop interdisciplinary research and education programs to address a stubborn energy challenge -- how to realize a large-scale, sustainable, domestic energy source -- by developing advanced solar photovoltaic technologies and by providing the foundation for new industries through innovation. Over the next five years, the NSF ERC program and the DOE Solar Energy Technologies program together will invest $18.5 million in the Center.
Steven Limpert, an undergraduate working at the Solar Power Laboratory, was recently awarded a Circumnavigators Club Foundation grant to study the development and commercialization of solar energy technologies in nations throughout the world during the summer of 2011.
The Circumnavigators Club Foundation awards travel-study grants in the amount of $9,000 to four undergraduate students in their junior year of study in the United States each year. The grant is to be used to circumnavigate the globe visiting at least five countries and three continents while conducting a research study of the recipient’s own design. In giving the grant, the Circumnavigators Club Foundation hopes to foster improved international relations through the development of friendship and understanding.
Steven will be using the grant to visit a wide range of solar energy technology commercial application sites and research institutions in Spain, Germany, India, Bangladesh, Japan and Australia. In each country, he will be meeting with policy makers, business people and academic researches to discuss their work in the area of solar energy technology and their nation’s relationship with solar energy technologies.
When Steven returns from his travels, he will be composing a comparative case study containing information regarding the solar energy technology policies, businesses and research pursuits in the nations which he will have visited.
“The fact that solar powered electricity is highly desirable but comparatively expensive has put government policymakers in a difficult position and there is no precedent for the industry’s responses to some of the recent subsidy cutbacks and policy changes that have been made. I am very excited about the prospect of studying the solar energy technology industry and its relationship to a variety of different government subsidy programs throughout the world.”