iMPS-RESS Solar Energy Option

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solar panels

Photo: Solar photovoltaic cells at the Penn State Center for Sustainability's Solar Homestead. Source: Penn State News.

The Solar Energy Option will create graduates who can lead project and policy development in the solar energy industry. The skills of master’s level solar systems project development include solar resource assessment for selected locales, effective communications to design to maximize the solar economic utility to the client/stakeholders, knowledge of thermal- and electric-derived solar conversion technologies, technical knowledge of design in hybridized solar systems design, and the social and policy context of solar systems project design. Courses in the solar option will have two parallel paths to address either

  1. Utility-Industrial solar electric and solar thermal projects (e.g., large-scale solar and industrial processing); or
  2. Distributed solar electric and solar thermal projects (e.g., residential and commercial built environment).  

NOTE: A background in systems science, engineering, or physics is strongly recommended for students interested in this option. Students may contact the Option Leader for more information.
 

All RESS students are required to take the following "core" courses: 

  • EME 504 Foundations in Sustainability Systems (3 cr.)
  • EME 801 Energy Markets, Policy and Regulation (3 cr.)
  • EME 802 Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems (3 cr.)
  • BIOET 533 Ethical Dimensions of Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (2 cr.)
  • ABE 589 Management and Design of Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (3 cr.)

 

Students in the Solar Energy Option are required to take the following courses:

  • EME 810 Solar Resource Assessment and Economics (3 cr.)
  • AE 878 Solar Project Development and Finance (3 cr.)

 

Students also select 6 credits from the following courses:

  • EME 811 Solar Thermal Energy for Utilities and Industry (3 cr.)
  • EME 812 Utility Solar Power and Concentration (3 cr.)
  • AE 862 Distributed Energy Planning and Management (3 cr.)
  • AE 868 Commercial Solar Electric Systems (3 cr.)

 

In addition to the above, students must select 6 credits of electives as part of their program.  Here's the list of approved electives for the solar energy option: 

  • A E 862. Distributed Energy Planning and Management (3 cr.) - only if you haven't already taken it to meet your option requirements 
  • AE 868 Commercial Solar Electric Systems (3 cr.) - only if you haven't already taken it to meet your option requirements
  • A B E 884. Biomass Energy Systems (3 cr.)
  • EME 803. Applied Energy Policy (3 cr.)
  • EME 811 Solar Thermal Energy for Utilities and Industry (3 cr.) - only if you haven't already taken it to meet your option requirements
  • EME 812. Utility Solar Power and Concentration (3 cr.) - only if you haven't already taken it to meet your option requirements 
  • MANGT 510. Project Management (3 cr.)* - see note below
  • SCM 800. Supply Chain Management (4 cr.)*
Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are offered by programs other than the RESS program.  Student permission and course availability will depend on the program offering the course.     
 
Note - MANGT 510 is available on a "space available" basis no more than one month prior to the start of the semester.  To register, please contact World Campus Registration at Phone: 814-863-5256, Email: registration@outreach.psu.edu 

In addition to the above pre-approved electives, the following courses, offered by programs other than RESS, may also be possible as electives, based on discussion with your advisor and approval of the program chair, by sending an email petition to the Academic Program Coordinator, Dr Daniel Ciolkosz (dec109@psu.edu):

  • AGRO 851: Applied Plant Population Management
  • BRS 896: Independent Studies
  • CEDEV 430: Principles of Local Economic Development**
  • CEDEV 452: Community Structure, Processes and Capacity**
  • CEDEV 500: Community and Economic Development: Theory and Practice**
  • CEDEV 505: Leadership Development**
  • CEDEV 509: Population, Land Use, and Municipal Finance**
  • CEDEV 567: Resilient Communities and Environments**
  • CEDEV 575: Methods and Techniques for Community and Economic Development**
  • EBF 483: Introduction to the Electricity Industry
  • EME 401: Energy in a Changing World
  • EME 444: Global Energy Enterprise
  • ENGR 405: Project Management for Professionals
  • ENGR 501: Engineering Leadership for Corporate Innovation
  • ENGR 802: Engineering Across Cultures and Nations
  • ENGR 804: Engineering Product Innovation
  • GEOG 430: Human Use of the Environment
  • GEOG 431: Geography of Water Resources
  • GEOG 469: Energy Industry Applications of GIS
  • METEO 469: From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming
Courses marked with two asterisks (**)  require registration by contacting the office for that program, rather than using the university's registration system.  

If you have questions about the Solar Energy Graduate Option, please contact the option leader, Dr. Jeffrey Brownson at info@ress.psu.edu.

Other iMPS-RESS program options: Sustainability Management and Policy | Bioenergy | Solar Energy | Wind Energy