PhD Studentship: The Impact of Short Timescale Variations in Operational Environment on the Output of PV Systems

Loughborough University - Electronic & Electrical Engineering

Application details:

Reference number: WS12
Start date: 1st October 2018
Closing date: 9th March 2018


Primary supervisor: Dr Tom Betts
Secondary supervisor: Dr Ian Cole

Intro (standard):

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Graduate School, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

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Project Detail:

Solar photovoltaic (PV) device power output responds extremely quickly to changes in incident light levels (sub-millisecond) and rather more slowly to changes in temperature (seconds or minutes). However, almost all solar radiation data available for PV site analysis and system performance monitoring is provided as hourly averages. This has an observable distortion of the distribution of operating conditions, with implications for energy yield and system component failure ratings. This PhD project will investigate several aspects of temporal variation, from reanalysis of the solar resource, through non-linear PV system response, to impact on electricity grid injection and balancing of supply and demand at point of use.

The work will seek to extract more useful information from existing hourly averaged data stocks through a combination of solar irradiance modelling and back-propagation analysis of high time resolution measurement data from a small number of highly-instrumented locations. Modelling of instantaneous DC power output from PV modules will be undertaken at sub-hourly scales, to yield accurate quantification of peak stresses in the devices and peak current injection into power conditioning electronics (grid-tied inverters and battery charge controllers). The response of such power electronics will be assessed to predict influences on the output side, which may feed into AC injection or self-consumption studies.

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Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Maths, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Renewable Energy, Solar Photovoltaics, Statistics.

Funding information:

Please note that these studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or the following 30 projects that have been prioritised for funding: advert ref: WS01 – WS30.

If awarded, each 3 year studentship will provide a  tax-free stipend of £14,786 p.a (provisional), plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (currently £4,262 p.a). While we welcome applications from non EU nationals, please be advised that due to funding restrictions it will only be possible to fund the tuition fees at the international rate and no stipend will be available. Successful candidates will be notified by 30th April 2018.

Contact details:

Name: Dr Tom Betts
Email address:
Telephone number: 01509 635320

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Electronic & Electrical Engineering.

Please quote reference number: WS12

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Midlands of England