RSE3141 - Solar energy - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Civil Engineering

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Jeff Walker


Dr Roger Dargaville

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


ENG2005 or MTH2010 or MTH2015


This unit covers concepts associated with the solar energy industry including; the characteristics of solar radiation and solar collectors including efficiency evaluation and prediction of long-term performance; system modelling; energy storage; computer simulation and modelling of performance and the economics and financing of solar energy projects.


At the successful completion of this unit you will be able to:

  1. Analyse the physical processes that determine the output of a solar thermal collector.
  2. Describe the design, function and storage capacity of different solar thermal systems and components and assess their suitability for various applications.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of daylight and be able to describe the requirements for different applications of solar. Execute shading calculations with sun path diagrams.
  4. Assess the heat balance of a building and quantify energy efficiency through different passive solar energy solutions and analyze their applications in different climates.
  5. Determine the characteristics of solar radiation, before and after the passage of the atmosphere. Describe the different ways to measure solar radiation and understand the limitations with different measurement methods. Quantify the incident radiation on surfaces with different orientations and analyze different radiation models for calculation of the incident radiation.
  6. Design simple stand-alone, as well as grid-connected, solar electricity systems and choose components for optimal system performance; including describing how solar cells are connected into a module, what the losses are and how these can be minimized.
  7. Analyse the financial/economic cost-benefit requirements for solar energy technology and other conditions for large-scale dissemination. Discuss the relative advantages and limitations of various financial/economic key figures for solar energy project.


Continuous assessment: 50%

Examination (2 hours): 50%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

3 hours lectures, 2 hours practice class and 7 hours private study per week

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study