KD7050 - Photovoltaic System Technology

What will I learn on this module?

In this module, you will learn about the principles of photovoltaic (PV) system, design, operation and application. This will include consideration of the system components and the design and configuration of the solar array, together with examples of stand-alone, grid-connected and space applications. The module will also help you to appreciate the critical issues relating to the implementation of photovoltaic systems.

The topics within the module syllabus include:
• PV arrays and system components
• Grid connected PV systems, including large scale and building integrated systems
• Stand-alone PV systems and applications
• Concentrator PV systems
• PV arrays for satellite power supply
• Monitoring and performance analysis
• Operation and maintenance, system lifetime, standards and regulations

How will I learn on this module?

You will meet the material via a combination of lectures and seminars, including some class-based design exercises. You will also undertake an individual design project, in which you will develop a system design for a defined customer, considering both technical and non-technical issues to achieve the best design compromise and utilising specialist software for the design of photovoltaic systems.

The module is assessed by an examination (60%) which investigates your knowledge and understanding of the principles of PV systems. The design project mentioned above will determine your ability to apply your knowledge to a real life application. Feedback on the examination is provided individually and also generically so you can see where the cohort has a stronger or weaker answer to particular examination questions than the one you gave. Feedback on the assignment is also provided individually, with particular emphasis on constructive advice to enhance your skills in system design and the presentation of technical material. Formative feedback is provided in lectures and seminars with regard to the development of your understanding of the module content.

The knowledge and skills that you will acquire in this module significantly enhance employability, particularly in the field of renewable energy. You will also have the opportunity to experience working across engineering/sciences disciplines, while developing personal employability attributes. By learning such skills, you will become more productive and able to problem solve while being aware of the wider environment context of commercial landscape of photovoltaic system industry and research ethics and social considerations, beyond simply solving technical challenges.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

In addition to the lectures and seminars, you are able to make direct contact with the module team, usually via email in the first instance, where further support is required. This allows the arrangement of ad-hoc individual or group discussions to address specific problems. You will also be regularly referred to supporting resources including relevant texts and multimedia relevant to the module. References to these resources will be made available through the e-learning portal and in lectures and seminars. Individual advice is provided at the beginning of your design project in terms of selection of the application and other critical issues. You will have various opportunities to visit the photovoltaic systems within the campus and outside.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Assess the system requirements for both grid-connected and stand-alone applications of PV systems
(AHEP4 M2)

• Critically evaluate the performance of a PV system in contrast to a theoretical model of such a system, calculating yields and efficiencies
(AHEP4 M2, M4, M7)

• Analyse the main system losses and compare methods for minimising these for various system designs
(AHEP4 M2, M4,)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Design and develop a PV system evaluating complex and contradictory customer needs in relation to an application
(AHEP4 M1, M2, M4, M5)

Disseminate group work to wider audience through both written report and presentation.
M16, M174

How will I be assessed?


1. C
1. Examination (60%): It will investigate your knowledge and understanding of the principles of PV systems You will attempt 4 questions from 6.The module learning outcomes addressed are: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9.

2. Coursework (CW) Written assignment and presentation (PRE) (40%) –
The module learning outcomes addressed are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8.

In-course seminars and discussions

The module learning outcomes addressed are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8.

Formative feedback will be provided via class discussions. Individual written feedback will be provided on both aspects of the summative assessment.





Module abstract

Photovoltaic systems convert solar energy directly into electricity for a wide range of applications and are of growing importance to our energy supply systems around the world. In this module, you will learn the principles of photovoltaic system design, applications and performance. This module is about preparing you to use the skills and knowledge that you have acquired on the programme, in order to solve a complex and open-ended challenge. As part of the assessment of this module, you will get the opportunity to complete an individual design project, allowing you to apply your knowledge to a specific application and utilize the latest specialist software for system simulation. Northumbria has an internationally recognized research group in photovoltaics, allowing the latest research developments in design and implementation to be included in the class discussions. You will gain critical and investigative skills that can be applied to a wide range of electrical systems in your future career as professional engineer (ready to be a chartered Engineer of the IET).

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Full Time (with Advanced Practice in the second year)
2 other options available

Department Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or January 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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