New Course - PV Systems

EEE598: Photovoltaic (PV) Systems
Spring 2014

The use of photovoltaics (PV) has increased dramatically over the last years, driven by cost reductions in the PV systems. The goal of the course is to be able to calculate, design and understand the components of PV systems; design and optimize a PV system for a range of PV applications; to be able to calculate and analyze the initial and levelized cost of PV electricity; understand and analyze the reliability of the PV systems; and to understand how non-technical barriers and incentives affect PV Systems.

Overview of Topics Covered:

  1. Overview of PV applications and systems
  2. Background: Overview of PV modules and characteristics; Overview of electricity grid system
  3. PV system components: PV modules; Power conditioning; Battery storage; Balance of system Components; Loads
  4. PV system parameters
  5. Solar radiation for PV system analysis
  6. Life cycle and levelized costing for PV systems
  7. Reliability
  8. Photovoltaic system design


Familiarity with basic electric circuits


Dr. Christiana Honsberg: ERC-179

Dr. Stephen M. Goodnick: ERC-552

Class Schedule:

Tuesday and Thursday 10:30 - 11:45 am, ECG-G237


All the course material is available in an on-line textbook, which can be found at: A recommended text is: Applied Photovoltaics; Richard Corkish, Martin A Green, Muriel E Watt, Stuart R Wenham, Earthscan (Routledge); 3rd edition (2012). ISBN 978-1-84971-141-8 (hardback); ISBN 978-1-84971-142-5 (paperback); ISBN 978-1-84977-698-1 (e-book)




Homework, 5 at 6% each­­


Small Projects, 2 at 10% ach


Mid-Session Exam


Final Project


The “Small Projects” are differentiated from the homework in that the solution to the problems will typically require some aspect of numerical simulation. The numerical analysis for these will also be applicable to the larger project, so a robust, well documented effort is highly encouraged. 

The Final Project is a group project. Assessment of the project will be carried out throughout the semester. It consists of both a final report and a presentation (worth 23%). The remaining 12% is from assessments that occur earlier in the semester: (1) Technical Approach and Management Plan (5%); (2) Background information/literature survey (5%); (3) Progress Report (2%) 

Unless it is specified that the project or homework is a group assignment, they are expected to be your own work, copied material is not acceptable as per the ASU academic integrity policy, see:

Class Schedule





Wk 1

Jan 14

Jan 16

Course Overview; Introduction to PV Applications and Systems; Learning Curves

Background/ Basics (Solar cell overview; Light, power and energy)



Jan 21

Jan 23

PV Applications Overview

Metrics for PV Systems



Jan 28

PV System Components: Introduction and PV Cells (Temperature, Model)

HW 1 Basics


Jan 30

PV Modules Part I (Module Structure, Temperature)



Feb 4

PV Modules Part II (Interconnection effects)



Feb 6

PV Modules Part III (Interconnection effects in arrays; By-pass &blocking diodes)



Feb 11

Storage Part I: Overview; Background Electrochemistry and Batteries

Proj 1: Modules


Feb 13

Storage Part II: Lead Acid Battery Characteristics & Other Battery Types



Feb 18

Power Conditioning: Part I: Inverters

HW 2 Batteries


Feb 20

Power Conditioning: Part I: Inverters (con’t)



Feb 25

Power Conditioning: Part II: Maximum Power Point Tracking; Battery Charging



Feb 27

Loads; (Characteristics; Types)

HW 3: Electronics


Mar 4

Balance of System Components



Mar 6

Final Project Technical and Management Plan Assessment

HW 4: Conc & Systems


Mar 11

Mar 13

No Class Spring Beak



Mar 18

Technical Characteristics and Standard for Systems



Mar 20




Mar 25

Solar Radiation Part I: BB, Standard Spectra; Angles

FP Lit Rev


Mar 27

Solar Radiation Part II: Radiation on a Tilted Surface



Apr 1

Solar Radiation Part III: Shading



Apr 3

Life cycle and Levelized costing for PV systems: Part I: Time Value of Money

Proj 2: Radiation


Apr 8

Life cycle and Levelized costing for PV systems: Part II: LCOE



Apr 10

PV System Design Principles

HW 4: Costing


Apr 15

Reliability of PV Systems: Part I: Physical Mechanisms: PV Module Failure



Apr 17

Reliability of PV Systems: Part II: Failure in PV Systems; FP Status Report

FP Status Report


Apr 22

Sustainability and Policy: Part I: Materials; Issues; Analysis Approaches

HW 5: Systems


Apr 24

Sustainability and Policy: Part II: Incentives:



Apr 29

May 1

Student Presentations for Final Project