On February 23, 2023, IEEE Power and Energy Society BRACU Student Branch Chapter arranged a Solar PV System Design seminar titled “𝗦𝗼𝗹𝗮𝗿 𝗣𝗩 𝗦𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗺 𝗗𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗽 & 𝗣𝗮𝗻𝗲𝗹 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 ”. The seminar was conducted by 𝗘𝗻𝗴𝗿. 𝗦𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗸𝗵 𝗥𝗮𝗳𝗮𝘁 𝗕𝗶𝗻 𝗔𝗹𝗶, a Certified Solar PV Engineer and Solar PV System Designer Instructor who also serves as the CEO and Co-Founder of Ulterior Engineering. This seminar aimed to provide a professional overview of solar panels and solar PV system design utilizing PVSyst, Sketch-Up, or Homer software. In addition, the participants got an idea of how to begin a career in the solar PV industry.

Solar Photovoltaic system is an electrical system that produces energy from inexhaustible sources like the sun. With the increasing fossil fuel consumption in the present world, the reserve for non-renewable energy sources is decreasing. However, renewable energy sources could cover 65 percent of the world’s electric supply by 2030. Solar energy is one of the most common renewable energy sources, and photovoltaic cells can generate this solar energy and reduce the consumption of non-renewable energy to a great extent.

The speaker of this event was Engr. Sheikh Rafat Bin Ali. He is an experienced Electrical Design Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the electrical, Solar PV system, and electronic manufacturing industries. He served SamaSun International Power Co. as Project Engineer, where he achieved tremendous success over the years. Currently, he is the CEO and Founder of Ulterior Engineering.

At the beginning of the speech, the speaker asked the audience what the required things are to set up a solar PV system. He answered the question by stating that solar PV panels, inverters, and batteries are necessary for setting up such a system. The speaker explained these components further, highlighting the different types of solar panels, such as polycrystalline silicon, monocrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. Each of these types of solar panels is further divided into three categories, depending on various criteria such as size, efficiency, type of glass used, busbar type, field factor, cell size, and cell gap. Then, the speaker elaborated on the factors that affect the efficiency and electricity output of solar panels, including type, angle, atmosphere, and age of the solar panel. He then explained the various factors affecting electricity output, such as the panel’s area, the sun’s brightness, direction, and heat. He also outlined several rules to maximize the output of solar panels, such as ensuring there is no shade on the panel between 09:00 and 15:00, tilting and azimuth, and mounting the panel at least 10 cm above the surface. Next, the speaker discussed inverters and their importance in the solar system, categorizing them into on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid solar inverters. On-grid solar inverters convert solar energy into usable electricity for the home or business and send any excess power back to the grid. Off-grid solar inverters are used in standalone solar systems that store excess power in batteries. Hybrid solar inverters combine on-grid and off-grid capabilities, allowing backup power during outages. After that, he described how solar cells are connected to create a panel, with groups of cells connected in series forming a cell stream and groups of cell streams connected in parallel, creating a cell array. Multiple panels connected in series form a panel string, while multiple panel strings connected in parallel create an array or panel array. Throughout the presentation, the speaker showcased several datasheets for different types of solar panels and guided the audience through the process of calculating various factors such as the fill factor and efficiency. He also provided examples and assisted the audience in solving these calculations.

The speaker continued his speech by discussing the concept of standard test conditions (STC), which PV manufacturers use to indicate the performance of PV modules, and talked about various types of losses that can occur in a solar panel system, including shadow loss, soiling loss, thermal loss, ohmic loss, aging loss, degrading module loss, and many more. The speaker also provided information on different software programs that can be used for designing these systems. By using these software programs, designers can simulate the performance of a solar system and optimize its design based on factors such as location, weather conditions, and energy needs. This results in a more accurate and efficient design process and a better-performing solar system.

At the conclusion of the seminar, our speaker imparted his words of encouragement to the students, urging them to strive toward becoming skilled engineers rather than simply entering the workforce as inexperienced newcomers. Then a question-and-answer session took place. Finally, Mohammad Thushar Imran, the lecturer of EEE at Brac University, presented a crest to the speaker as a gesture of appreciation for their valuable insights and contributions.