Design and Development of Hands-on Learning Experience in Renewable Energy  Guo Research

Design and Development of Hands-on Learning Experience in Renewable Energy,  funded by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation from Oct 2011 to Oct 2013, aims to increase hands-on experience and knowledge of renewable energy and power systems amongst college students. This will provide students with the necessary theory, as well as practical hands-on skills to design, test and install photovoltaic systems, thus benefiting their future career.

Dr. Liping Guo,  from the Department of Technology, conducts this project using advanced photovoltaic training equipment from US Didactic.  She'll use it to teach the design and operation of modern solar power plants. It enables project work to be carried out with industrial components.

The following training content will be covered using the trainer.

  • 1.  Training on solar modules 
    • 1.1  Testing the optimum alignment of solar modules
    • 1.2  Recording the characteristics of solar modules
    • 1.3  Testing the module’s response to shadow formation
    • 1.4  Studying how bypass diodes operate
    • 1.5  Learning about various types of wiring and connection configurations for solar modules
  • 2.  Design of PV systems in an isolated power network
    • 2.1  Installation of PV systems
    • 2.2  Design and testing of a standalone PV system in direct operation
    • 2.3  Design and testing of a standalone PV system in storage operation
    • 2.4  Design and testing of a standalone PV system for the generation of 230 V AC voltage
  • 3. Design of PV systems in parallel network operation
    • 3.1  Installation of PV systems
    • 3.2  Design and testing of PV systems with mains feed
    • 3.3  Measuring generated power of a PV system
    • 3.4  Determining efficiency of the grid-connected inverter
    • 3.5  Studying response of a PV system to mains failure

These training contents will be tightly coupled with two lecture courses, TECH 175 Electricity and Electronics Fundamentals, and TECH 379 Electric Machines and Transformers. TECH 175 is an introductory course on electronics and electricity for all engineering technology students, and TECH 379 is focused on electrical power systems and machines.

A solar tracking power system will be designed to track the sun throughout the day to increase the efficiency of the system. The solar tracker will be connected to the photovoltaic training equipment, therefore we can connect the system to the grid and record the power harvested by the system.