EE students conduct photovoltaic R&D for industry in electrical engineering curriculum

Chris C. Delia, Peter Mark Jansson, John L. Schmalzel, Carlos Daniel Barreiro, Kevin Anthony Whitten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Rowan University is committed to providing undergraduate engineering students with experience in real world problems as part of its engineering curricula. Through the participation of Industrial Affiliates, we have been able to involve undergraduate students in a number of renewable energy research and design projects. This paper describes the structure and methodology of Rowan University's Junior and Senior year clinic model as well as a specific clinic project that provides students with the experiential learning opportunity in which they can apply their engineering knowledge and resourcefulness to a real-world project. During the2010-2011 academic year, Kaneka Corporation of Osaka, Japan sponsored the design, engineering, permitting and installation of a photovoltaic (PV) system test bed located at Rowan University's Rowan Hall, utilizing Kaneka's new multi-junction "Hybrid" amorphous modules. The installation required that all work be completed in accordance with local laws and codes as well as be designed for optimal array output. Working in an engineering clinic environment, modeled after the medical school approach, undergraduate engineering students were charged with design and installation of this system to meet any necessary political and design specifications. This involved every aspect of design, including obstruction shading analysis, PV array layout, single-line design, specification, procurement and purchasing of all required balance of system (BOS) equipment, as well as plan submittals for Rowan University and New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) approval. Through this engineering clinic model, students learned all the inner workings of how a grid-connected PV array goes from concept to reality, ending with a finished product for the client. Most importantly, the Rowan University clinic experience allowed students to effectively communicate with representatives of the sponsoring agency and report the findings of a semester long research, design and development project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

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