Starting every year in March and October, the University of Freiburg in cooperation with Fraunhofer offers a series of training modules in the field of Solar Energy Engineering with a focus on photovoltaic technology. The certificate program will be offered in the winter and summer term. Upon successful completion of a module, participants will receive a certificate of attendance granted by the University of Freiburg. The continuing education modules are offered in a blended learning format: a combination of self-learning phases, regular online meetings and attendance phases (campus phases) in Freiburg. During the campus phases, students have the opportunity to network with faculty and fellow students, take exams and put their knowledge into practice in the labs of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.

Module Overview

The certificate program "Solar Energy Engineering" consists of 5 individual modules, which can be booked separately and cover the following areas of expertise:

  • Module 1: Solar Cells and Photovoltaic Systems
  • Module 2: Photovoltaics and the Renewable Electricity Grid
  • Module 3: Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics
  • Module 4: Material and Solar Cell Characterization and Modelling
  • Module 5: Non-conventional Cell Concepts and Advanced Processing

Module 1: “Solar Cells and Photovoltaic Systems”

The module “Solar Cells and Photovoltaic Systems” consists of two courses. The course “Solar Cells” provides profound insight into the physics, technology, and design of solar cells. By understanding physical mechanisms, limitations and design rule the student is able to understand all different types of solar cells like silicon, thin-film, organic or dye solar cells and so on. This helps the student to develop, design and optimize photovoltaic devices with respect to efficiency, cost and lifetime. The course “Photovoltaic Systems” deals with basically everything around the solar cell once it is implemented in any kind of photovoltaic application. The student is able to design and optimize photovoltaic systems based on their understanding of the environment and its influence on photovoltaic energy conversion. They are also able to describe and design photovoltaic systems for optimized energy production, transport, and storage.

Module 2: “Photovoltaics and the Renewable Electricity Grid”

Decentralized electricity generation and fluctuating availability pose a challenge to grid stability. This module provides a comprehensive understanding of the interaction between PV systems and the power grid. It is about control aspects of PV Systems and the integration of a huge amount of PV energy in the electricity grid. Furthermore, this module gives a wide overview of smart grid and renewable energy systems. Starting with basic issues of energy and efficiency, grid technology will be discussed to balance complex systems with the available storage component.

Module 3: “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics”

In this module, students will get an overview of the value chain of silicon solar cells starting from quartz up to the finished module. Students will learn how silicon is produced from quartz and how this silicon is purified, crystallized and cut into wafers. Based on this knowledge, students should be able to develop new and optimized processing sequences and design concepts for silicon solar cells. Finally, students will learn how modules are produced from silicon solar cells and which aspects are particularly important to ensure a long module lifetime. The module contains a laboratory course “Solar Cell Processing” in Fraunhofer ISE labs in Freiburg during the final Campus Phase.

Module 4: “Material and Solar Cell Characterization and Modelling”

Understanding prototype solar cells is key to further development. This module provides a practical as well as theoretical insight into common characterization techniques used for solar cell characterization. The module also provides an advanced understanding of multi-dimensional effects in solar cell and material characterization. Students will also learn how a simulation package for solar cell simulation works, by providing an insight into the numerical techniques to discretize the governing equations to describe solar cells. The module contains a laboratory course “Measurement Instrumentation” in Fraunhofer ISE labs in Freiburg during the final Campus Phase.

Module 5: “Non-conventional Cell Concepts and Advanced Processing”

This module provides an understanding of photovoltaic devices which are not wafer-based silicon solar cells. The module provides a comprehensive fundamental understanding of the basics of a Si-based thin film (crystalline, a-Si, a/μc-Si), CIGS, and CdTe thin-film solar cells, modules, and module production. It also covers III-V material and multi-junction concepts as well as concentrator systems. The module also gives a wide overview of existing concepts to overcome the thermodynamical limit for single junction solar cells, the so-called third generation photovoltaics. Different strategies to push efficiency further up will be discussed and it will be shown how they all try to realize one thing: to absorb more photons and/or to convert a higher fraction of the photon energy to electrical energy.

Target group

Professionals in R&D, Equipment Production & Automation, Technical & Business Consulting, and Management who want to specialize in or make a career change to the PV industry.

Admission requirements

Candidates may have completed a Bachelor degree or possess professional PV background.

Program taught in:

See 4 more programs offered by Fraunhofer Academy »

This course is Online
Start Date
6 - 12 months
2,500 EUR
By locations
By date
Start Date
End Date
Application deadline
Start Date
End Date
Application deadline
Application deadline
End Date
Application deadline
End Date