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Get to grips with energy generation from solar sources, including the associated technologies and main technical challenges.

Develop focused skills in this key area of renewables and further your career as a graduate engineer or energy industry professional.

Learn from a team of internationally experienced engineers and academics at the University of Aberdeen. Study with us online, part-time, wherever you are in the world.

This course is part of our MSc in Renewable Energy Engineering. You can go on to study this Masters degree online, one short course at a time.

What will I study?

You’ll examine the solar energy industries in-depth, looking at:

  • resources
  • technologies used
  • practical implementation
  • development
  • barriers
  • environmental and sustainability issues.

You’ll explore various examples of solar energy calculations in different power ranges, from rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems to large PV farms.

You’ll cover the following topics:

  • Sun solar spectrum, effects of Earth’s atmosphere, orbit and rotation on insolation
  • Concentrated solar thermal power generation
  • Externalities of solar energy conversion
  • Cost considerations of solar energy conversion
  • Power electronics devices for PV
  • Grid-connected PV systems
  • Isolated PV systems and storage
  • Network integration, connection standards, codes and practice

You’ll complete your course by carrying out a detailed design project. The case study for this design can be tailored to you or your employer’s requirements.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to…

  • Explain the sources of solar energy, their nature and availability.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of different sources of energy.
  • Quantify the energy potential (heat, power and transport) from different sources of energy.
  • Assess the technologies available for the conversion of solar to different forms of energy.
  • Discuss the technical challenges facing solar-based energy industries.
  • Carry out the design and analysis of a solar-based plant system.
  • Describe the market dynamics and economics of solar energy.

Why study Renewable Energy online with the University of Aberdeen?

How will I study?

This course is delivered part-time online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Part of our MSc in Renewable Energy Engineering, this course is taught at Masters level.

Online learning

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

Your tutors

You’ll learn from a team of internationally experienced engineering staff. Involved in active research, they’ve worked on major projects all over the globe. You’ll benefit directly from their industrial experience and academic expertise.

Industry input

Your course content is also developed and reviewed by an Industry Advisory Board. This group of experienced professionals ensures your learning is always in line with the latest industry trends, technology and career opportunities.


You’ll be assessed entirely online.

This course usually combines online assessment with a written exam that you attend in person. However, due to Covid-19, in-person exams will not take place until January 2022 at the earliest.

Your course coordinator

Where will this take me?

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our:

Masters in Renewable Energy Engineering (120 credits plus a 60-credit project), or a:

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Renewable Energy Engineering (60 credits)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Renewable Energy Engineering (120 credits)

All are available to study part-time online or full-time on campus.

Build your learning

We have a range of online short courses you can use to build your skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:


This course will prepare you for professional and managerial roles in the renewable energy sector.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free careers advice

We’ll help you explore your career potential and connect with job opportunities around the world.

You can access our free careers service while you study.

From interview training to CV clinics, we’re here with tailored, impartial and professional advice.

Am I ready?

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level of teaching, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:2 (second-class) degree in Engineering or the Physical Sciences
  • or relevant experience that supports this level of training.

Apply for this course

Start date
27 September 2021