SUS 8600B Solar Energy


The City College of New York

Mechanical Engineering Department

Syllabus & Instructor Information Sheet Form

ME G3300 Solar Energy

Spring 2020

1. General Information:

Course Number: ME G3300

Course Title: Solar Energy

Credit-Units: Three (3)

Instructor: Dr. Jorge E. González-Cruz

Title: Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Office: ST-238

Phone: ext 5279

Office Hours: M & W (12:00-2:00 P.M.)


Lecture Hours: M 2:00-4:50 P.M.

Lecture Room: TBD

2. Course Description:

Study the fundamentals of solar radiation, its measurement methods and estimation.  Selected topics on heat transfer relevant to systems design applications of solar energy such as flat plate and focusing collectors, energy storage systems, heating and cooling systems, electric power generation systems, and water distillation processes. 

3. Pre/Co-requisites:

ME 43300 or equivalent (undergraduate heat transfer)

4. Textbook, Supplies and Other Resources:

J.A Duffie and W. Beckman, Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes, Latest Edition, John Wiley.

5. Purpose:

The objective of this course is to provide senior and/or graduate students with the necessary fundamental knowledge in solar energy engineering concepts as well as with the necessary skills to design basic solar thermal and Photovoltaic energy technologies.  

6. Course Goals:

After completing the course, the student should be able to:

  • Have knowledge of solar radiation, its measurement and estimation
  • Analyze and design flat plate and concentrating collectors
  • Analyze and design thermal storage systems
  • Have knowledge of solar heating and cooling, water distillation, and power generation systems
  • Have knowledge of solar photovoltaic cells
  • Have a good understanding of economics of solar energy systems
  • Design simple solar photovoltaic systems and more complex thermal systems

7. Requirements:

All students are expected to:

  • Attend the course on a continuous basis and on a timely fashion
  • Read the material before upcoming lectures
  • Participate in class discussions
  • Complete homework assignments
  • Pass satisfactorily two partial tests
  • Use computers to solve assignment problems when required
  • Complete a design project



8. Laboratory/Field Work:

  • Several selected homework problems will require the use of computers.  Any programming language is acceptable, however, Engineering Equation Solver (EES) is preferred ( 


9. Instructional Strategy:

  • The group will meet every Monday from 2:00-4:50 PM in TBD
  • Three tests will be given during the quarter, four homework sets, and a term project will be required
  • The textbook will be complemented with class notes
  • Topics will be presented by first approaching the concepts following with examples
  • Students should read the material prior to attending the lecture

10. Department/Campus Policies:

10a. Class attendance: Class attendance is compulsory. The City College of New York, reserves the right to deal at any time with individual cases of non-attendance. The professor will maintain a record the absences of their students. Frequent absences affect the final grade, and may even result in total loss of credits. Arranging to make up work missed because of legitimate class absence is the responsibility of the student.

10b. Absence from examinations: Students are required to attend all examinations. If a student is absent from an examination for a justifiable reason acceptable to the professor, he or she will be given a special examination. Otherwise, he or she will receive a grade of zero of "F" in the examination missed.

10c. Final examinations: A final written examination will be given at the end of the semester to be schedule by the Registrar Office.

10d. Partial withdrawals: A student may withdraw from individual courses at any time during the term, but before the deadline established in the University Academic Calendar.

10e. Disabilities: All the reasonable accommodations according to the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Law will be coordinated with the Dean of Students and in accordance with the particular needs of the student.

10f. Ethics: Students must follow the Honor Code of the City College of New York School of Engineering. Failure to do so may lead to failure of the course or even suspension of the School.

11. Campus Resources:

A General Library is available to obtain professor’s reference materials. 

A fully equipped computer center is available for students’ use in the Engineering Design Center

12. General Topics

Solar Radiation Concepts

  • Basic principles of thermodynamics and heat transfer
  • Measurement and estimation of solar radiation
  • Absorption, reflection, and transmitted solar radiation
  • Analysis and testing of thermal performance of flat plate collectors
  • Analysis and testing of thermal performance of concentrating collectors
  • Principles of solar hydrogen production
  • Analysis of thermal storage systems
  • Principles of solar photovoltaic technology and systems
  • Economics of solar energy engineering systems
  • Design of solar thermal and PV systems





13. Evaluation/Grade Reporting:

The course grade will be composed of the following; (a) two mid term examinations with score of 100 points each, (b) one final test at the end of the semester, (c) one term project for the final day of classes, and (d) up to four homework.


The final grade will be calculated using the following weight factors:

  • Mid Term Exams – 40 %
  • Final Exam – 25%
  • Term Project – 20%
  • Homework – 15%


Final Grade will be determined based on the following score

  • A - 90% and above
  • B – 78% - 89%
  • C – 62% - 77%


14. Course Outline And Schedule:





Week 1

Review of thermodynamics and heat transfer concepts

Class notes

Week 2-3

Available solar radiation, measurement and estimation

Tutorial of EES Software

Chapter 1-2; Class notes


Week 4

Optical properties of solar collectors

Chap. 4

Week 5-6

Flat plate thermal collectors: temperature distribution, heat removal and flow factors, effective ta, efficiency and testing

Chap. 6; Class notes


Week 7

Mid-Term Test #1


Week 8

Concentrating collectors  & solar hydrogen production

Chap.  7; Class notes

Week 9

Thermal storage systems

Chap.  8


Week 10

Economics and sustainability of solar energy engineering

Chap. 11 ; Class notes

Week 11

Design of solar thermal systems and F-charts 

Chap.  12 & 20


Week 12

Photovoltaic technology and systems

Chap. 23; Class notes

Week 13

Mid-Term Test #2


Week 14

Advanced topics in solar energy engineering

Class notes

Week 15

Final Exam





15. References

  • Kreith and Kreide, Principles of Solar Engineering, (1978), Hemisphere
  • Lunde, Solar Thermal Engineering: space heating and hot water systems, (1980), John Wiley
  • Incropera and Dewitt, Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer, Latest Edition, John Wiley
  • Handbook of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, F. Kreith & Y. Goswami Eds.  2007.  CRC Press. 
  • Handbook on Mechanical Systems for Sustainable Buildings.  Moncef Krarti and Jorge González (Editors).  ASME Press.  June 2017.  ISBN: 9780791861271.
  • Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies.  Science.  Science, Vol 305, pp. 968-972. 2004.
  • Richard Perez, Ken Zweibel, and Thomas E. Hoff, Solar Power Generation in the US: Too expensive, or a bargain?  Energy Policy 39 (2011), pp. 7290-7297 DOI information: 10.1016/j.enpol.2011.08.052
  • Gamarro, H., Gonzalez J.E., and Ortiz, L.E.  (2019).   On the Assessment of a Numerical Weather Prediction Model for Solar Photovoltaic Power Forecasts in Cities.  ASME J. of Energy Resources Technology 141(6).  doi: 10.1115/1.4042972. 
  • Lebassi B., J.E. González, and R. Bornstein.  On the environmental sustainability of building integrated solar technologies in a coastal city.  J. of Solar Energy Engineering, 135, DOI: 10.1115/1.4025507.