Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Research

Remote Photovoltaic Laboratory

Real Control from Anywhere in the World

In 2002, when we developed the distance learning version of our MSc in Renewable Energy Systems Technology, a number of physical laboratories were converted to computer simulations. However, advances in internet communication services gave us the idea we could go one better and enable students to actually experiment with and control physical apparatus from a distance.

The remote laboratory we created is identical to a physical laboratory that is designed to teach the energy conversion properties of photovoltaic (PV) panels. The intended learning outcomes are the same. But the unique experimenter-student interface means that it can be controlled from anywhere in the world.

So, in exactly the same way as their counterparts on campus, distance learning students can now investigate and understand the effects of varying temperature and irradiance on the performance of PV panels, using the characteristic measurement called the IV curve, by performing real experiments in real time.

The picture above shows the working laboratory rig.

Read about the distance learning MSc in Renewable Energy Systems Technology in the Prospectus →

The links below are to posters explaining the creation and design of the lab.

The Remote Photovoltaic Laboratory

Real control from anywhere in the world.

Further reading

  1. Blanchard, R. E., Williams, S. R., Bliss, M., Clowes, M., Mohammed, A., & Pancholi, R. (2014). Educating the World: A Remote Experiment in Photovoltaics. In 1st International Conference on Non-Conventional Energy (pp. 42-46). JIS College of Engineering, Kalyani, India.
  2. Williams, S. R., Blanchard, R. E., Mohammed, A., Bliss, M., Pancholi, R., & Clowes, M. (2013).. The development of a remote laboratory for distance learning at Loughborough University. In Can we do it? Yes we can! Recognising, promoting and developing flexible learning in HE (pp. 1). University of Westminster, Marylebone Campus, London.
  3. Williams, S. R., Blanchard, R. E., Mohammed, A., Bliss, M., Pancholi, R., & Clowes, M. (2013). The Development of a Remote Laboratory For Distance Learning at Loughborough University. In EDULEARN13 Proceedings (pp. 4342-4349). Barcelona, Spain.
  4. Blanchard, R. E., & Williams, S. R. (2013). The development of a remote laboratory for distance learning at Loughborough University. In L. Gibbins, & G. Perkin (Eds.), Laboratories for the 21st Century in STEM Higher Education: A compendium of current UK practice and an insight into future directions for laboratory-based teaching and learning. (pp. 113).Loughborough University.