MAS311 Solar Technology and Design

Course description for academic year 2020/2021

Due to Covid-19, changes may occur in course descriptions for the autumn semester of 2020. Changes in each course will be published on Studentweb or Canvas. When a course description has been changed there, the description on web is no longer valid. Examples of such changes could be accomplishment of practice, course type, or whether letter grades or passed/not passed will be used as grading scales.

Contents and structure


  • Solar radiation. Fundamentals of photovoltaic and solar thermal energy harvesting devices and the solar year.
  • Building regulations governing the incorporation of solar energy collecting devices and other solar constructs.
  • Design of buildings using the concept of solar architecture.
  • Building physics.
  • Installation techniques for mounting photovoltaic and solar thermal panels.
  • Network connection regulations and practical considerations.
  • Implications for demand and load balancing for on and off grid systems (electrical) including energy storage (electrical and thermal).
  • New and upcoming technologies.

Learning Outcome

Learning outcomes

A student who completes the course MAS311 should be able to:


  • Show an understanding of how photovoltaic and thermal panels harness energy along with other solar energy harnessing technologies.
  • describe various techniques for installing solar harnessing devices to buildings and other structures; being able to communicate how projects can be better conceived using good solar architectural design.
  • describe the legal and building regulations governing the installation and network connection of solar devices, including an understanding of smart networks.


  • Perform initial design studies with overall calculations for structures and devices whose form and function will benefit from solar energy.
  • Evaluate the potential for engineering solutions which can utilise solar energy.
  • Provide an insight into future solar energy technologies with their implications for application and installation.

General competence

  • Reflect on one's own professional practice.
  • Work in teams.
  • Present one’s own work though presentation and written report.

Entry requirements



Recommended previous knowledge

Recommended prerequisites

An understanding of engineering design, structural forms, heat transfer and material properties.

Teaching methods

Teaching and Learning

The course delivery will be through lectures accompanied with group work*. It is expected that the student will devote time, on a weekly basis, to self-study.  If possible, excursions will be arranged. Group work will involve undertaking a project which requires or extending knowledge covered within the scope of this course. The project will be directed towards a report and presentation which will be assessed.

* Due the breadth of subjects within the course it is anticipated that the delivery will be by a team of specialist lecturers.  This will typically include the disciplines of solar radiation in relation to the solar calendar and position, energy harnessing devices, product applications, systems installation, electrical regulation and networks, building physics, architecture and design analysis.

Course requirements


A group project based assignment which will involve the submission of a report and giving a presentation. Participation in group work during the course is mandatory. 



An individual oral exam will provide 100% of the grade assessment. Grade scale A-F, where F is a fail.

The duration of the oral examination is likely to be approximately 20 minutes.

It is possible that, on instruction by the examiners, the individual examination may be conducted in the presence of a student’s peers; although this should ordinarily be restricted to limited numbers such as members of a particular group project submission. However, it could be in the presence of others registered on the course.

If circumstance requires, a new exam can be arranged at the start of the following semester.

Examination support material

Permitted materials and equipment during the examination

None: closed book aural examination.

However, if helpful, the examiners may allow the student under examination to elucidate ideas and illustrate concepts using sketches.  As such pen/pencil and blank paper or other means, as decided by the examiners, will be acceptable in the examination room.

More about examination support material