ENERGI9020 - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Solar Energy

Course content

Rural areas in developing countries often have limited access to electricity. A very promising option for making electricity available to rural areas is through the construction of renewable energy-based mini-grids. Solar photovoltaic (PV) based power is particularly interesting as solar PV has become a viable technology for meeting rural electrical need.

This course has a multidisciplinary focus and covers both technical and socio-economical aspects of implementing decentralized solar-based mini-grid, i.e. external to the national grid, in a rural context in a developing country.

The purpose of the course is to increase the students understanding of the interdependencies between technological energy solutions and social, economic geographic and cultural dimensions related to energy distribution and use, by offering lecturers; - on the technology component of decentralized solar-based mini-grid, including energy production, storage, distribution, and on - ethnographic methods, in the context of accommodating mini-grids to local micro-economies and local practices.

The course is divided in two main parts, where the first part takes place in the classroom at UiO and the second part involves the students in a field work situation in (country/village in India, with the purpose of observing how solar energy systems are integrated in a minigrid. In the field, the students will participate with researchers in ethnographic research methods on technology scoping and implementation. The focus in the field will be implementation of technology on household level. The field work will help to identify challenges and success factors at the local level for the implementation of mini-grids

Learning outcome

The students will be introduced to multi-disciplinary research covering technical and socio-economic aspects of implementing decentralized solar-based mini-grids in a rural setting in a developing country. The students will learn about:

1. Various energy system components, e.g. the solar panels (production), batteries (storage), and some basic applications (usage), includ-ing how the components work, their advantages, but also limitations and critical issues.
2. How these components function in a complete stand-alone system, design and dimensioning, adaptation, control system, energy flow, monitoring and safety mechanisms;
3. Central concepts of ethnographic methods such as participant observation, observation, open-ended and semi-structured interview techniques
4. The students will introduced to the qualitative approach that is how critical categories and meanings emerge from the ethno-graphic encounter rather than imposing meanings from existing models.

Admission

The course is primarily intended for PhD students admitted to a program at a Norwegian University or University College, but note that master students may also apply for the course.

For registration please contact the Øystein Moen, see contact information below.

PhD students from other Universities than UiO must in addition apply s a visiting PhD students.

 

Prerequisites

Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course is primarily intended for PhD students admitted to a program at a Norwegian University or University College, but note that master students may also apply for the course.

For registration please contact UiO:Energy, see contact information below.

PhD students from other Universities than UiO must in addition apply s a visiting PhD students. 

The examination in this course is not available for external candidates. Only students admitted to the course may sit for the examination.

Examination

Students are graded on their participation in group project assignments and the submitted group project report.

Students will on an individual basis present the completed assignment.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

It is recommended to request an explanation of your grade before you decide to appeal.

Appeal

Explanation

The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published. For oral and practical examinations, the deadline is immediately after you have received your grade.

The explanation should normally be given within two weeks after you have asked for it. The examiner decides whether the explanation is to be given in writing or verbally.

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Evaluation

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Facts about this course

Credits

5

Level

PhD

Teaching language

English