Manon Petit

First MSc graduates in Solar Energy at DTU

Friday 03 Jul 20


Sune Thorsteinsson
Project Manager
DTU Fotonik
+45 46 77 45 21

Project results

In Manon´s Master thesis, she studied the energy loss due to the nonuniformity of the rear side irradiance from bifacial solar cells under different weather and albedo conditions and from different models.

In collaboration with Nicholas Riedel who works on an Industrial PhD at DTU Photonics Engineering, she has written an article about the study results for the conference the 47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference.

Read the article “A Spatial Irradiance Map Measured on the Rear Side of a Utility-Scale Horizontal Single Axis Tracker with Validation using Open Source Tools”.

Solar Energy study line

The Solar Energy study line is a specialized part of the MSc programme ‘Sustainable Energy’ at DTU, which gives students great expertise in various sustainable energy technologies and energy systems.

Students on the Solar Energy study line learn about the individual components of a solar energy system. They acquire knowledge about a number of solar energy aspects, including how a complete system works, how it can be modelled and dimensioned, and how solar energy can be used in relation to the energy system in general.

Launched in 2018, the Solar Energy study line is Denmark’s first specialized line in solar energy. There was great interest from the start, with the admission of 16 students the first year. Last year, 19 students were admitted.

Read also the article ‘
DTU launches new study line in solar energy

Read more about the Solar Energy study line
Diplomas are now being issued to the first graduates from DTU’s Solar Energy study line, which is a new specialization under the MSc programme Sustainable Energy

In 2018, DTU launched the Solar Energy study line under the MSc programme Sustainable Energy. Now—two years later—the first MSc students are graduating. Manon Tania Hélène Petit from France is one of them. After completing a general engineering Master at the École Polytechnique, the leading engineering school in France, she had to select another Specialization Master and the choice fell on DTU.

“I was really passionate about studying sustainable energy and from my perspective, DTU offered the best Master opportunities to do that,” she explains.

Manon Petit had examined several places—including in Europe—and her reason for choosing DTU was that she wanted to experience Denmark and that DTU gave her this opportunity to specialize in solar energy.

“Solar energy plays a key role in creating the green, sustainable energy solutions of the future which can be used across our energy systems. DTU provided an opportunity for immersion in precisely solar energy—as opposed to France where there is a more general focus,” says Manon. She explains that she has learned everything about solar cells during her studies: from the fabrication of solar modules to installation, simulation, calculation of energy harvesting on the computer, and economic returns of a solar plant.

Master’s thesis in bifacial solar cells
Her Master’s thesis focused on bifacial solar cells. These are solar cells that harvest sun from both sides, unlike so-called monofacial solar cells—currently the most widely used solar cells—which only harvest sun from one side.

“One of the areas that I’ve studied is the loss of energy caused by nonuniformity of the irradiance in the backside of bifacial solar cells. Then, I have analysed those losses under different weather conditions and using different kinds of materials placed under the solar cells that reflect the light. It’s one step towards identifying optimal conditions and predicting energy yield,” says Manon.

In her Master’s thesis, she has had access to data and field studies at the solar farm at DTU Risø Campus, which is Denmark’s first bifacial solar farm. It was established in 2018 in a collaboration between DTU and the Danish energy company European Energy. The solar farm serves as a test centre, including for the development of bifacial solar farms, which are predicted to be the future of solar cell modules because they can harvest up to 35 per cent more solar energy, according to a new study.

Read more about the solar farm at DTU Risø Campus in the article “DTU optimizes solar cell energy”.

Learn more about the test facilities in the solar farm.

Landed student job in solar energy
In addition to studying solar energy, Manon Petit has also worked in the solar cell industry during her stay. When she started at DTU, she discovered that it was normal to have a student job. Therefore, she decided that she would try to find an academically relevant job. After about six months, she managed to get her foot in the door of the company GreenGo Energy Group, where she has worked around 20 hours a week, participating in a research project and financial modelling, among other tasks.

“I got really good help and support in finding a relevant student job from the supervisors at DTU. They were helpful in establishing contacts and advising me on where it would be most obvious to apply,” she says.

Manon has generally had an exciting time studying in Denmark, where she also found time to join the DTU Exiles rugby team, which helped her establish a network with other students from outside the Solar Energy study line.

Future involvement in sustainable energy
Now that she has graduated and earned her MSc, Manon will take a month off to go hiking in the mountains of France. She will use the break to consider what she wants to do and where she should apply for a job.

“I’m looking forward to returning to France, and to my family and friends. It’s been strange knowing that during the coronavirus crisis, you could not visit each other.”

She does not know what the future holds in terms of job opportunities. However, she feels well equipped to apply for jobs—both with the experience from her student job and with all the competences, methods, theory and practical knowledge she has acquired in the field of solar energy during her studies.

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