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ME 667 Solar Energy Applications

Catalog Description

ME 667 Solar Energy Applications (3). Prerequisites: ME 401 and ME 440. Theory of solar radiation transmission, absorption and reflection. Heat transfer in solar energy devices. Design methods for heating of buildings by solar energy. Active and passive solar applications.

Prerequisites by Topic

  1. Fluid mechanics
  2. Heat transfer


J.A. Duffie and W.A. Beckman, Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes, 2nd edition, John Wiley, New York, 1991.


Readings from current technical literature in the area of solar energy systems.


M.K. Sharp, Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify and describe the fundamental principles of solar radiation heat transfer.
  2. Describe a range of applications of current solar system technology.
  3. Define the performance prediction methods for solar energy systems.
  4. Implement mechanical engineering principles to design solar energy systems.

Topics Covered

  1. Theory of solar radiation (5 classes).
  2. Availability of terrestrial solar radiation (5 classes).
  3. Heat transfer in solar energy devices (5 classes).
  4. Flat plate collectors (5 classes).
  5. Concentrating collectors (4 classes).
  6. Active solar energy systems (5 classes).
  7. Passive solar energy systems (5 classes).
  8. Economics of solar energy systems (3 classes).
  9. Photovoltaic systems (3 classes).
  10. Examinations (2 classes).

Computer Use

Students will write solar system performance prediction spreadsheets.

Computer Use

Three 50 minute sessions per week devoted to lecture, discussion, and problem solving.


Exams 40%, project 30%, final 30%.

Curriculum Criterion Contribution

Engineering science: 2 credits, engineering design: 1 credit.

Curriculum Criterion Contribution

This course supports Mechanical Engineering program objectives by developing:

  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams.
  • An ability to identify, formulate and solve problems in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • The ability to communicate effectively.
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern tools necessary for the practice of mechanical engineering.

Prepared by M.K. Sharp, June 2009

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