Solar Installations and Energy Microgrids: Fundamentals, Design and Calculation (Online)


Program Description

  • Period: from July 6 to 17, 2020
  • Number of teaching hours: 45
  • Coordinator: Dr. Manuel Pérez García; Universidad de Almería CIESOL - Center for Solar Energy Research
  • Knowledge area: Applied Physics



Ibero-America is home to some of the regions with the greatest solar potential on the planet and many of them are currently very active and relevant focus of projects. These sources are addressing both applications for the generation of heat and electricity in isolated environments as well as other applications such as the integration of solar thermal and photovoltaic plants in national and regional distribution networks, water treatment or the supply of industrial and productive processes .

In this environment, the Universidad de Almería wants to offer future Latin American engineers and professionals the opportunity to take advantage of their extensive experience in this field, especially that related to the development of specific solutions applicable to agriculture and the industries associated with it under I study in the MICROPROD-SOLAR project of the Ibero-American Science and Technology Program in which universities, research centers and companies from Spain, Chile and Mexico participate.

This course is organized by the CIESOL Solar Energy Research Center ( ), which is a joint center of the Universidad de Almería and the Plataforma Solar de Almería ( ) founded in 2006 that collects more 25 years of experience in collaborative projects between both institutions. Although the center is primarily dedicated to applied research activities in the field of solar energy, the available infrastructures and the experience accumulated by its staff allow it to additionally address specific training activities in 3 modalities: 1) training of doctoral students who begin his research career, 2) support for regulated academic activities in bachelor's and master's degrees at the Universidad de Almería and 3) holding specialized courses at the request of companies or institutions. Additionally, the center has a wide network of contacts with companies and professionals in the sector who collaborate in training and educational activities.


The main objective of this course is to provide its students with knowledge and skills that allow them to design solar thermal and photovoltaic installations for applications in their usual work environment as well as the dimensioning of their main elements.

To obtain this general objective, the following specific objectives will be addressed, developed in the programmed topics of the course:

  • Provide course attendees with the necessary foundations for understanding and modeling in solar thermal and photovoltaic systems.
  • Understand the apparent movement of the sun in relation to its use as an energy source in solar collection devices.
  • Establish and exploit the methods for obtaining available radiation values for the purposes of facility design.
  • To know the structure and fundamentals of operation of flat solar collectors for low temperature applications.
  • To know the structure and fundamentals of operation of concentrating solar collectors for medium and high temperature applications.
  • Identify and know the operation of the elements that constitute a complete solar installation for low-temperature installations (collectors, heat exchangers, storage system, interconnection devices and thermal distribution)
  • To know the structure and fundamentals of operation of photovoltaic solar modules.
  • Identify and know the operation of the elements that constitute a photovoltaic solar installation (generators, storage system, interconnection devices and electrical adaptation)
  • Achieve capabilities for the use of computer tools to address basic design of solar installations with specific applications (SAM, F-chart, TRNSYS, PVWatts).



Module 1: Evaluation of Solar Resources

  • Energy nature and components of solar radiation
  • Apparent movement of the sun: applications to the design of solar installations
  • Estimation of available radiation values
  • Sources and management of solar radiation data for facilities projects
  • Other climatic data with application to the modeling and design of solar installations

Module 2: Solar Thermal Energy

  • Fundamentals of low temperature solar thermal conversion. The flat collector
  • Fundamentals of medium and high temperature thermosolar conversion. Solar concentration systems
  • Elements and systems of thermal use of solar radiation (thermal storage tanks, conduits and control elements, exchangers and other own elements). Standardization and testing in solar thermal energy
  • Design and optimization of solar thermal installations. Control and modeling of solar thermal installations. Characterization of heat demands aimed at solar integration. Dynamic methods of sizing solar thermal installations. Functional, economic and environmental optimization of thermal installations

Module 3: Photovoltaic Solar Energy

  • Fundamentals of photovoltaic conversion: semiconductors and pn junction. Characterization and operation of solar cells. Manufacturing. New photovoltaic materials
  • Elements and components in photovoltaic systems. Photovoltaic modules and arrays. Power conversion systems Electrical storage systems Functional and structural characterization of photovoltaic installations
  • Photovoltaic applications. Autonomous installations, power plants, agriculture and buildings. New photovoltaic applications
  • Design and optimization of photovoltaic installations. Characterization of electrical demands aimed at photovoltaic integration. Dynamic methods of dimensioning of autonomous and grid connected photovoltaic installations. Functional, economic and environmental optimization of photovoltaic systems

Module 4: Solar Applications Laboratory

  • Study of the available radiation components. Estimation of optimal inclination of solar collection systems
  • Study of solar radiation databases. Application to specific projects
  • Experimental calculation of the performance of a solar collector in the solar collector test bench. Instrumentation and measurement
  • Electrical characterization of photovoltaic modules
  • Analysis of operating parameters of a real photovoltaic installation


The course will be taught through the Blackboard Learn platform of the Universidad de Almería . The methodology to be applied includes both theoretical classes, which will occupy 40% of the teaching dedication and practical activities, which will account for 60% of the student's dedication and which will be of 3 types: problem solving and application cases, use computer tools and virtual visits to facilities. Hands-on activities include student tests and assessments. The distribution of the classes and their format will be:

  • Master classes on the theoretical contents (40%, 18 hours). Using as reference the treatises indicated in the bibliography as well as UAL's own material, the corresponding theory classes will be taught using the Blackboard Learn platform.
  • Class of problems and calculations for application cases (30%, 13.5 hours). They will be carried out in the virtual classroom, promoting both the autonomous work and the collaborative work of the students, based on relations of problems and practical cases prepared ad hoc for the course, including the consideration of the location of facilities in different locations in Latin America .
  • Use of computer modeling and dimensioning tools (20%, 9 hours). They will be taught through the virtual classroom, where you can access the specific software proposed in the course (SAM, TRNSYS, F-chart). A basic tutorial will be provided in each of them and an application case.
  • Virtual technical visits to solar installations (5%, 2.25 hours).
  • Tests and evaluations (5%, 2.25 hours)

Vurtual Visits and Complementary Academic Activities

  • Visit 1: Facilities of the CIESOL center (solar installation, storage and distribution systems and refrigeration installation by absorption for climatic conditioning of the building)
  • Visit 2: Photovoltaic solar installation in the north parking lot of the Universidad de Almería .


The evaluation will correspond to the teaching methodology and will consist of the following tests and percentage: 1) Multiple choice test on theoretical content: 40% of the grade, 2) Delivery of practical cases, files and developments of the application of computer tools: 60%.

Last updated Aug 2020

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The University of Almería, Spain, organizes summer courses each July since 2013. They are designed by the most prestigious experts of the leading-edge fields of our University and are taught by Doctor ... Read More

The University of Almería, Spain, organizes summer courses each July since 2013. They are designed by the most prestigious experts of the leading-edge fields of our University and are taught by Doctors and Full Professors of proven expertise and experience in their respective areas of knowledge. All courses have an eminently practical focus and include visits to industries and companies of the field. Read less