1st course in the Photovoltaic Power Electronics Specialization

Instructor: Robert Erickson, PhD, Professor

NoteThis course requires purchase of a parts kit in order to complete assignments. The kit will be used from the first experiment in the 2nd week of class and throughout the course and the following 2 courses of the specialization. Please allow adequate time to receive the kit. It is highly suggested that you receive the parts kit by the end of the first week of the session.

This is a 100% distance course in which students design, construct, and demonstrate an actual hardware stand-alone solar power system at home or other distance location.

Prior knowledge needed: ECEA 5700-5703.

Learning Outcomes

  • Design, construct, and demonstrate an open-loop PV power electronics system in which a dc-dc switching converter interfaces a PV panel to a deep-discharge 12 V battery.
  • Testing and modeling of the PV panel.
  • Design and testing of the dc-dc converter and its magnetics, and use of a modern microcontroller to drive the power MOSFET.


Duration: 2 hours

This module summarizes how this laboratory course will work, and includes a technical overview of the three-course specialization.

Duration: 3 hours

Report 1: Experiment 1 (35% of course grade)

Experiment 1 is a one-week module in which the PV panel is directly connected to the battery to attain a "direct energy transfer" system that charges the battery. You will operate this system and develop a model of your solar panel.

Duration: 3 hours

R​eport 2: Experiment 2 (15% of course grade)

Experiment 2 is a one-week module in which you become familiar with the C2000 Launchpad microcontroller board, set up Code Composer Studio to program the Launchpad, and demonstrate a PWM output with programmed switching frequency and duty cycle.

Duration: 2 hours

R​eport 3: Experiment 3 (50% of course grade)

Experiment 3 is a multi-week project in which you will design, construct, debug, and demonstrate a dc-dc SEPIC that interfaces your PV panel to your battery.

Duration: 3 hours

Continuation of experiment 3.

Duration: 1 hour

This module contains materials for submission of the final project (Exp. 3) for MS-EE degree students. If you've upgraded to the for-credit version of this course, please make sure you review the additional for-credit materials in the Introductory module and anywhere else they may be found.

To learn about ProctorU's exam proctoring, system test links, and privacy policy, visit www.colorado.edu/ecee/online-masters/current-students/proctoru.


Percentage of Grade

Report for experiment 1: Direct Energy Transfer System


Report for experiment 2: Software Tools and Pulse-Width Modulator


Report for experiment 3: Open-Loop DC-DC Converter


Letter Grade Rubric

Letter Grade 
Minimum Percentage























Component List

Students are required to purchase the following:

  • A parts kit, estimated at $130
  • A test equipment kit or otherwise gain access to equivalent equipment, including a basic oscilloscope, multimeter, power supply, and bench tools. The test equipment kit includes a Diligent Analog Discovery 2 that is used as a 50 MHz two-channel oscilloscope with voltage probes, and also is used as a network and impedance analyzer. The cost of the test equipment kit is estimated to be $500.
  • Download the Parts Kit and Lab Equipment List.xlsx
  • You will need a battery to complete this course. The battery must be: Lead Acid, at least 3Ah, at least 12V, deep discharge. Possible vendor: Northern Arizona Wind and Sun: https://www.solar-electric.com/upg-d5741-ub1250-agm-deep-cycle-battery.html#tab-label-product-documents.
  • If you would like to order the kit through us (ECEE department at CU Boulder), submit the order form to place the order then call us with the credit card information and we will ship the item to you.