Lectures MWF 2:30pm, DUE 0096.



Ruth Douglas Miller,, off-campus: 610-714-0505
Office hours:  M 10am, T, W 2:30pm, or whenever I answer the phone, email or through Google Hangouts:

Texts and Resources:

  • RA Messenger & J Ventre, Photovoltaic Systems Engineering, 3rd ed., CRC Press, 2010.
  • L Castaner & S Silvestre, Modelling Photovoltaic Systems Using PSpice, Wiley, 2002.
  • J. F. Manwell, J. G. McGowan, A. L. Rogers, Wind Energy Explained: Theory, Design and Application, 2nd ed, Wiley, 2009.  Authors' page with resources, including software for problems, at UMass Amherst.
  • P. Gipe, Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Home, Farm and Business, Chelsea Green, 2004.

Course Objectives and Description: ECE 681

I have several goals I'd like you to accomplish in Wind & Solar Engineering:
  • Understand the physics of photovoltaic cells at least at the level of EECE 525.
  • Know the basics of design of a PV system: the name, purpose and operation of allparts, and how to compute the size and/or number of each part needed for a given specified application.
  • Understand the physics of wind turbines at an introductory dynamics level
  • Know the basics of wind turbine selection and siting criteria.
  • Have some idea where alternative energy technologies might go in the future.
  • Have a realistic idea of the current global energy situation from both physical and political perspectives.

Course Objectives and Description: ECE 582

This course provides academic credit and a mutual meeting time for individual and teams of students pursuing research projects related to electricity generation from renewable sources, mostly photovoltaic and wind energy.  I will provide guidance and background information; you provide curiosity, motivation, time and energy to help make wonderful things happen with engineering ingenuity.


I look forward to hearing your own goals and fitting them in to the class.

Cool Stuff:

a place to list web links I've found useful, or just really cool, in renewable energy.  Do please tell me yours!

Project Teams List

Course Schedule:

Week Dates Notes Readings & HW Topics and Due Dates
1   1st Day Questionnaire Manwell chs. 1-2 Manwell probs 2.3,11; AEP from wind turbine introductions, background, interests; global need & desire for alternative energy, basic wind physics & resource assessment


Solar Cell Simulator java file

M&A chs. 2, 3.1-3

problems 2.5, 7, 19; 3.2, 6

Photovoltaic Physics


 Solar resource assessment, sun angles, tracking, PVWatts.  
3   Power Affiliates Day? PV online tutorial PV physics
4     M&A ch. 3 System block diagram for PV. Power trackers, inverters in detail
5     Manwell et al ch.3.1-4 Project designs, Gantt chart.
Wind lift/drag, Betz, generator operation
6 26-27 Sept  Kansas Energy Conf, Wichita
  Gantt chart due this wk
W Wilson wind farm ppt
7     M&A chs 4, 6, 7, Manwell ch 9 System-level design: PV and wind.  
8     motor tutorials: induction, brushless DC Induction generators, inverters.  Grid connection.
M&V problem 11.1
9     M&A ch 8, probs 8.11,13 (3rd ed: 9,11); Manwell Ch. 11.3, 8.  Economics
10       Wind turbine siting, wind farm design
Solar parking lot design (economics & production)
11       Induction generator circuit analysis (B.5.13, 14, 15)
power tracker & inverter circuit behavior, harmonic cancellation
13   Exam 2: mid-Nov    
  18-26 Nov Thanksgiving Holiday    
14       project demonstrations/presentations: wk 4 December
Final Mon 11 Dec     final project due.  Drafts due 4 December


I will assign reading and homework at least weekly, and expect you to come to class having completed the assigned reading.  This will help you greatly in understanding the lecture.   I expect you to spend about two hours outside class per lecture hour on work for this course.  Please let me know if the workload greatly exceeds that level--I don't know until you tell me.


Tentatively, there will be two hour-long exams, one early and one just after midterm; and in lieu of a final examination, a major project will be due at the scheduled time of the final, with class presentations during the last week.  If circumstances necessitate your absence from a class with a scheduled exam, you must notify me beforehand, by phone, e-mail or through the Dean's office, in order to reschedule the exam.   Progress reports, a presentation, a final report, and  a demonstration if applicable will all be graded parts of the project.  You may work singly or in teams depending on interests and project scope.   Tentative grade breakdown is as follows: two hourly exams: 30% each; final project, 40%.

Classroom Conduct and Accomodations for Disabilities

From the University Provost

  • "All student activities in the University, including this course, are governed by the Student Judicial Conduct Code as outlined in the Student Government Association By Laws, Article VI, Section 3, number 2. Students that engage in behavior that disrupts the learning environment may be asked to leave the class."
  • "Any student with a disability who needs an accommodation or other assistance in this course should make an appointment to speak with the instructor as soon as possible."

KSU Honor System

From the University Provost: "Kansas State University has an Honor System based on personal integrity, which is presumed to be sufficient assurance that, in academic matters, one's work is performed honestly and without unauthorized assistance. Undergraduate and graduate students, by registration, acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Honor System. The policies and procedures of the Honor System apply to all full and part-time students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses on-campus, off-campus, and via distance learning. The honor system website can be reach via the following . A component vital to the Honor System is the inclusion of the Honor Pledge which applies to all assignments, examinations, or other course work undertaken by students. The Honor Pledge is implied, whether or not it is stated: "On my honor, as a student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work." A grade of XF can result from a breach of academic honesty. The F indicates failure in the course; the X indicates the reason is an Honor Pledge violation." In this course, I expect and encourage you to work together on assigned homework, but to turn in your OWN work for credit, and to complete all quizzes and exams on your own without assistance in any form from anyone except me.  If you are ever uncertain as to what aid on an assignment is or is not authorized, please ask me for clarification!

KSU Final Examination Policy

No major projects may come due, or major exams be scheduled the last week of classes (7-11 December.) Students may not be required to take 3 exams in one 24-hour period. Should a student have 3 exams scheduled within 24 hours, it is the student's responsibility to seek relief, and the instructor of the highest-numbered class is responsible to reschedule that exam when appealed to.  Students must have scheduling conflicts for the final exam resolved no later than seven days prior to the final exam period (49 December, Fall 2017).

Extra Interesting Stuff

Udall Scholarship: founded in honour of the famous environmentalist and legislator, Morris Udall, this national scholarship is awarded to up to 80 rising juniors or seniors interested in pursuing a career in the general area of environmental issues.  The deadline is October; minimum GPA of 3.0.  Contact Jim Hohenbary at 112 Eisenhower or (785) 532-6904.
NREL Internships: through the DOE Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program (SULI) undergrads can apply to work at any of the DOE labs, including the National Renewable Energy Lab facilities in Golden or Boulder.  Typically you must apply by 1 October for Spring internship, 1 January for summer.  The Wind Center likes people in Spring, when it's windy, if possible.
This page last updated 1 November, 2017  by Ruth Douglas Miller