Silicon photovoltaic solar cells have reached the modern age of high-volume manufacturing. Solar cell manufacturing capacity has expanded 100-fold in the past 15 years, and has reached 10+ gigawatts of annual production. Photovoltaics engineers, scientists and managers must have a good working understanding of how solar cells are manufactured, improved and sustained in real solar cell factories, in order to succeed in their fields.
Students enrolled in this class will learn about the manufacture of silicon solar cells, specifically about engineering in the manufacturing environment. The course covers several engineering tools/methods used by engineers to improve solar cell performance and reduce solar cell cost in manufacturing, namely statistical decision making, cost modelling and regression modelling. Students will use these tools in the course’s virtual laboratory – the Virtual Cell Factory – where they will work as virtual employees of the “Virtual Cells Inc.” company. This company is in dire financial straits, and students will work to “save the company” from imminent bankruptcy.
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