Solar Energy Conversion and Applications


Organisation profile

Trinity College Dublin is Ireland's leading University, which has been inspiring generations of brilliant thinkers for over 400 years.

Training aim

The aim of this Micro-credential is to give the students an extended foundation of the main concepts of solar energy and to enable them to practically apply their knowledge in research and development of solar energy technologies as well as in the design of domestic and solar farm installations

Learning objectives

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

• Describe the function and design of difference system types of (i) solar thermal including the flat plate, evacuated tube, thermosiphon and integrated collector store systems and (ii) photovoltaic including monocrystalline silicon, amorphous, thin film and multijunction modules and emerging technologies.
• Explain how the performance of solar energy systems varies annually and diurnally, depending on location, sky conditions, device and application type and load/user behaviour. 
• Clarify which materials are best suited for use in solar panels as well as explain what surface treatments can be used to enhance thermal and electrical performance. 
• Describe the function of the most important components necessary in a solar energy system. 
• Describe the state of the art in thermal and photovoltaic technologies as well as show an insight into future trends and advances. 

Course outline

This course introduces a range of topics in the advanced physics and technology of solar energy conversion and materials, devices and applications. Participants will gain an in dept knowledge of current advances in solar energy, principles of operation of solar thermal and photovoltaic devices, technological challenges and their applications. The course also provides an introduction into next generation technologies.

Trainer's profile

Dr Sarah McCormack is an Associate Professor in the Dept of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. Her research is in sustainable energy with a particular emphasis on solar energy and energy storage. She leads the Solar Energy Application group where she has mentored 10 post-doctoral researchers and supervised 17 PhD students to completion. She is currently managing 12 researchers. She has published over 100 publications and has a h-index of 32 with over 5000 citations (Google scholar). She was awarded an ERC Starter grant in 2015 on the development of luminescent solar devices and is currently upscaling for building integration. She is also coordinating a H2020 14 partner project on the integration of different renewable energy technologies (solar, thermal energy storage and heat pumps along with intelligent control) in buildings. She chaired the School of Engineering Athena Swan self-assessment team which was recently awarded a bronze award and is currently Director of PG Teaching and Learning for the School.

Course duration

12 weeks

Assessment & certification

50% Group Project work and 50% end of semester Examination
A Micro-credential worth 5 credits on the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and 125 hours CPD credit.

Who should attend

This Micro-credential has been developed to benefit engineers, who are interested in learning more about solar energy conversion processes and applications of solar energy systems, architects interested in building integrated solar energy technologies, and professionals in local authorities and in NGOs who are interested in the growing solar industry in Ireland.