Skip to main content

Unit information: Solar Power and Microgrid Systems in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Solar Power and Microgrid Systems
Unit code AENGM0061
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Harper
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit provides students with an advanced knowledge of solar PV energy and microgrid systems. Considerable emphasis is placed upon design and architecture, together with the influence of policy, regulation and whole-life cost on optimised solutions. A key aspect of the course is the high level of expert industrial input which will allow students to gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art design and analysis tools. A series of case studies will complement the technical material and the coursework will give the chance to apply the skills learned in a realistic design context.

The aims of this unit are:

1. To develop an understanding of grid-connected solar PV energy farms.

2. To develop an understanding of solar PV microgrid systems, including the integration with battery storage and other renewable energy sources such as wind power.

3. To develop an understanding of the environmental, social and economic issues surrounding the design and development of solar energy farms and microgrid systems.

4. To gain experience of using industry-standard methods and tools to aid the design and analysis of solar energy and microgrid systems.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, participants should be able to:

1. Analyse and explain the solar energy resource at a given site and evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of installing a solar PV energy farm or microgrid.

2. Design a grid-connected solar PV energy farm, selecting suitable panel configurations and electrical architectures to optimise the energy yield within the given site constraints.

3. Design a solar PV microgrid for an off-grid community, including the use of battery storage.

4. Evaluate the performance of solar energy farms and microgrids with respect to key parameters such as energy yield, socio-environmental impacts and economic metrics such as cost of energy and return on investment.

5. Use industry-standard design/analysis software to aid Learning Objectives 1-4.

AHEP Learning Outcomes: SM3m, SM4m, SM5m, SM6m, EA2, EA3m, EA6, D1, D2, D3, D6, EL2, EL4, P1, P2m, P3, P4m, P5, P6, P8m, P9m, P10m, G1

Teaching details

The unit will be delivered through a combination of classroom lectures, mainly delivered by invited industry speakers (subject experts), and supported computer labs. Learning materials will be made available to students in advance via Blackboard.

Assessment Details

100% Individual Coursework Project involving the design/analysis of a solar PV farm and a solar PV microgrid system. The coursework project covers all learning outcomes.

Reading and References

see Blackboard for full list