Qualification - Pearson BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Engineering (Electrical and Electronic Engineering)

Unit Name - Research Project

Unit Number - Unit 34

Unit Level - Level 5

Unit code - 21033K/HEE449

Assignment Title - Developing a Project Proposal

Learning Outcome 1: Conduct the preliminary stages involved in the creation of an engineering research project.

Purpose: To perform the required preliminary tasks for doing a research project.

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Y.K Almoayyed Group of Companies in Bahrain wants to make improvement in their products such as solar panels, air-conditioning units, Electricity meters, smart grid and power generations, Electrical leakage in some appliances, Gas leakage in large industrial products, etc.,

The company wants to develop next-generation products and wants to know how new technologies can be utilised and integrated into the design process.

Being junior research member working in a Research and Development (R&D), the company requested you to develop a research proposal by identifying the key problem and by researching the latest developments that are taking place around the world on above products.

Research Proposal

Solar panels: The PID (Potential Induced Degradation) Problem in PV and solution

The solar power system is made of Photovoltaic (PV) panels, a converter from DC to AC which is known as the inverter and a system which binds the PV panels together called the rack. Usually the PV is mounted on the roof, and for a great generation of power they should be installed facing the westerly, easterly or northerly directions. The southerly facing panels will work fine but the power generation will be affected during the winter season. In principle the installation should be done such that the panels are tilted to a 100 minimum, to make sure that they can be cleaned naturally by the rain water [1].

There has been an upsurge in demand for the renewable energy especially in the corporate world and this creates a concern for this modern world especially now when there are many uproars concerning the global warming. The turnaround towards these renewable energies such as the solar energy, wind energy etc. is encouraging because it gives us a glimpse of hope for reducing the effects of global warming. The growth in demand is been fueled by the advancements in technology and need for new kind of energy especially with space exploration, which in large aspect of it has a large demand for the Photovoltaic technology. Many companies are doing their researches in regards to this field and trying to find better ways of improving the solar energy productivity and efficiency. This is the driving force in this sector, and new ways are being developed to create more efficient solar panels that can be up-to 47% efficient as opposed to the current ones that ranges from 15% to 22% efficient in their performances [2].

The PV panels installed are able to generate clean electrical power when they are hit by a light energy. The conversion usually happens in the solar panel cells that are specially made of mostly silicon.

All the solar panel systems function based on the same principle. They convert the solar energy to DC (Direct current) through what is called PV effect. DC, now it can be stored using the batteries or alternatively can be passed through a solar inverter to convert it into the AC power. AC power is mostly used to run home appliances. In other cases where there is extra solar energy it is possible add to the grid, alternatively it can be stored in various storage systems.

In this report we shall discuss the main problems of the solar panels which is the PID (Potential Induced Degradation), how it is caused, and we will demonstrate this effect and how it can be replicated in a lab and possible ways to mitigate the problem.

Task: With help of literature survey, produce comprehensive and clearly defined research proposal for the given scenario.



The evolution of the solar power came and exponentially grew in the 19th century but the real development came towards the second half of the 20th century when the acceleration in development was seen due to the growing need for a sustainable supply of electricity in remote areas and other locations. The grown was seen to rise rapidly in the past years with these panels improving greatly in terms of efficiency as well as reduced prices. The solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity together with wind [3].

The solar cells are made in a way that they can convert energy from solar to electricity. A solar cell refers to a component which is able to convert light energy into an electrical energy. This transformation is usually achieved through absorption of photonic energy and ionizing the very atoms to make electrons that are free as well as a hole. Generally the solar cells consists of both parallel and series resistance [4].

The resistance is made of resistance, semiconductor material, the resistance in-between metallic contacts as well as semiconductor, terminals and wires. The opposite resistance is brought by availability of the crystal malfunctions.

The solar cells have various factors like the I-V curve, efficiency and the fill factor etc. The short circuit in this case is also a factor and is the highest current that is produced by the solar cell. Also the open circuit voltage refers to the highest voltage available from the solar cell. Also, it is important to mention the Fill factor is the ratio of the highest power to the product of the open circuit (voc) and the short circuit.

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The proposal should clearly identify and discuss the key objectives, the resulting goals and rationale, by analysing the project specifications and identifying any potential risks associated with it.


From the provided information by the company on solar panels being used, an investigation was done and it was found that the already installed solar panels were experiencing the PID (Potential Induced Degradation). This is a very common problem among the solar panels usage. This problem is normally caused by module's leakages in voltage potential and the current.

The PID is a very unwanted effect experienced on some of the modules and usually influenced by factors like humidity, heat and voltage, and at some point these solar modules could be exposed to all these factors. This PID in many cases occur if the module's voltage potential and a leak in the current drive ion inside the panel found between the semi-conductor material as well as other modules like glass, the frame etc. and therefore causing the power of the module output capacity to be degraded recommend ably. The problem with PID is that it reduces the module's highestpower point (MPP) as well as open circuit voltage, which in return leads to a decrease in its shunt resistance. However this problem can be mitigated or rectified.

Usually a PV module consists of various components, and in many cases there are those that play crucial roles such as the solar cell, the aluminum frame and the encapsulating material. When a solar cell gets polarized with a voltage which is negative, there is usually a significant difference between the module frame and the cell. And usually this is at zero potential as a result of grounding most of the time. But because of a very little distance between them (solar cells and module frame) as well as a possible presence of impurities within the material used for encapsulation it is possible to have a current between them and hence creating a leakage in current for the whole PV module.

Your proposal should be with an evaluation and justification of the rationale of your research, towards creation of a successful sustainable engineering research project

Also, you need to refer to numbers of reliable sources such as books, journals, scholarly research articles in order to make a brief literature review for your proposal.


The specific goals of this project will be:
» To be able to use a simulation software to illustrate the occurrence of PID amongst the solar panels
» Setting up ways to detect PID in the PV modules
» Setting up mitigation methods for this problem
» Propose ways to prevent PID in future for the company
» Setting up solar panel system that are effective with no PID problems
» Improve the solar panel system efficiency by reducing the effects of PID

Resulting Goals
To be able to get a system that is PID free and putting measures in place to prevent the PID problem in future for the company. With the PID problem handled the company can focus on productivity and using the solar system that have a higher efficiency and throughput.

The reliability of solar energy makes it one of the most sorts after sources of power for many corporates and domestic usage. Notably, the need to maintain the solar panels by the company based on the following notions:
First, solar energy has been termed as one of the safest sources of energy, with the capability of ensuring that the goals of reducing global warming are achieved. Solar energy will not only make it safe for the firm operations but will enable the firm to extend its operations in maintaining the ecosystem around its operations.

Secondly, the need to maintain solar panels can be linked with the ability to offer long-term service as the source of power. Solar panels are known to service for over 25 years or more. Finally, the need to maintain solar panels can be linked with its ability to offer more reliable and cost-effective power, leading to the achievement of one's goals. To fully harness solar energy and use it to the maximum, we must first find a way to control, prevent and stop the problem of PID. In solving the issue of PID, in the solar panels, there will be a need by the Y.K Almoayyed Group of Companies to project on choosing a solar panel that has been manufactured through using an inbuilt PID resistance avoiding the damage of the panel.

Similarly, if the Y.K Almoayyed Group of Companies happens to have purchased a solar panel with PID resistance there will be an urge to install anti-PID to ensure maximum efficiency and the highest yield of solar energy. For instance, the firm can use the anti-PID BOX, which is usually installed between the inverter and the strings within the panel to polarize the PV module affected by the negative voltage.

Secondly, there will be a need to make consideration of the choice of glass or encapsulation, whereby the firm should project on acquiring the solar panel with solid encapsulation and with a diffusion barrier as a way of achieving long-term protection against the PID. Finally, there will be a need to focus on making consideration of grounding the negatively charged pole at the DC on the inverter to prevent negative voltage on the strings within the panel, a way of reducing the PID effect.








Solar panel

BMO/233 Monocrystalline


$ 162.5



Proteus 8


$ 12.2



INA219 Voltage and current sensors





Linear potentiometer




Display LED

Halogen lamp




Connection wires

Proteus wire connections



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Analysis of project specifications

Analyze specifications
To create a working prototype a monocrystalline solar panel BMO/233 will be used because this type of panel is more efficient as compared to any other type of solar panel. The BMO/233 are usually cut from the individual source of silicon. With the kind of problem, we will be investigating, the need to select a panel with more efficiency to achieve optimal results.

Feasibility study
In regards to the drastic changes and changes steered towards the reduction of global warming, there will be a need by the Y.K Almoayyed Group of Companies to focus on venturing into the project of solar energy as a way of ensuring that the business is ethically operating with the standard of law.

Secondly, in the analysis of the cost-benefit analysis (CBA), it is credible to appreciate that the Y.K Almoayyed Group of Companies. Venturing into solar energy by the firm on this project, specifically focus on the reduction of PID loss; it will achieve a way of reducing its costs of electricity and being able to gain a backup source of power, leading to enhancing its operations.

Finally, in the consideration of the scheduling of the energy use, I think the Y.K Almoayyed Group of Companies will benefit enormously, as it will have control of its power through using the tapped solar energy.

Critical path analysis (CPM)
In achieving the goals of this project of unmasking how the PID prevails, in the solar panels, the critical path which will be used will include:

First, there will be a need to design the monocrystalline solar panel BMO/233, which must be completed before all other tasks. The reasoning for the design of the monocrystalline solar panel BMO/233, it to ensure tested against other existing solar panels to test its efficiency. The second path that will be undertaken will be how now to reduce the PID issue, whereby various aspects such as there will be a trial of installation of anti-PID resistances in the designed monocrystalline solar panel BMO/233, to reduce PID-effect.
Finally, the path of grounding of the designed monocrystalline solar panel BMO/233, as a way of ensuring that any PID effect that might affect the solar panel is reduced effectively.

Project plan

Project plan

Activity NO






















Putting up the research preliminaries

















Identifying research question

















Putting up the project objectives

















Identifying the needed components and setting budget

















Design a prototype of the real model

















Developing a working model

















Proteus program and testing

















Preparation of report

















Submitting of the report
















Analysis of the project plan

In the context of achieving the goals of this proposed project:

In week one, the research preliminaries will be considered to ensure that all the necessary materials for the research are recorded. In the second week, there will be putting up the research question to ensure that the overall goal is designed.

In the third week, there will be the design of the specific goals of the proposed project to ensure that the research remains within the framework of the proposed objectives. In the fourth week, the budget will be designed based on the various components of the research required. such as purchasing the pieces of equipment required for the design of the solar panel, travel cost, among others.
In the fifth week, a prototype model will be designed, while in the seventh week, the real model of the solar panel will be designed. In the eighth week, there will be the preparation of the report based on the data collected that will be submitted in the final week nine.

Using the SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), the dimensions of the risk associated with the project will include:
First, the strength of this project will be the ability to design anti-PID material that will be able to eliminate power loss from the solar panel. The designed anti-PID may lead to the potential of energy source supply.
The weakness that will be probably be linked with this project is the essence of the cost of solar installation and the design of the anti-PID materials. The PID designed from the view of monocrystalline solar panel BMO/233 may require a significant amount of research and resource utilization.
Thirdly, there will be an opportunity linked with this project, in that if there will be working off the designed monocrystalline solar panel (BMO/233), the firm might decide on reducing the use of other sources of energy such as electricity and maximize on this energy source of power.
Finally, the probability threat linked with this project is the failure or ineffectiveness of the designed PID, which will risk the firm from losing its resources.

I-V graph characterization in lower power solar cell is suggested to get about how the solar cell behaves within chosen locations and environment. Several measurements are recorded for the solar cell features that are direct in usage, which helps in the calculations. It's important to choose a good time as well as weather conditions which will give more reliable results. We used the measurement system in this project to record the voltages and the current, and vary this values at different resistances at the potentiometer as a solar cell. The fig 2 below illustrates the complete block diagram of the raw measured data using the Proteus software as a micro controller. A potentiometer is used as a load, which in our case is the solar cell. The current and the voltage sensors are used for measuring a potentiometer voltages as a solar cell resistor in this case.

When a potentiometer measures zero in resistance, it means there is no difference in the voltages and the current passes through it without any loss and the Isc can be recorded. When the resistor in the potentiometer is varied infinitely by value its resistance prevents the current from flowing and the difference in voltage can be recorded as the Voc. sensors are able to record the voltages and current and the potentiometer resistor is able to change gradually so as to enable the microcontroller to measure and process a current and voltages recorded with the sensors [5].

The microcontroller in this project was used for recording the results from the sensors. It was supplied by the 5v battery and was used by the LED display because the LED draw the power from this controller. The software Proteus 8 was used as the microcontroller.
The sensors used in this project were the INA219 for the voltages and current sensors. In this case a voltage of about 26v and the rated current of about 3.2 A. The potentiometer with enough power rate was used for varying a solar cell resistor. A potentiometer with 10kOhm resistance is enough to prevent current which in the end creates a close to open circuit for the Ammeter that records zero Amperes because INA219 shows 0.3? shunt resistance.

The LED display in this project is important because it is used to produce visible wavelength. In this project a halogen lamp is used for illuminating and power the solar cell. The measures were recorded quickly because this lamp produces a considerable temperature.


This project was done to characterize the effects of PID in the solar cell. The solar cell has a total area of 0.031m2. The experiment was done using a simulation of a solar cell which was illuminated by a 250W halogen lamp with distance of 40 cm. raw data was established as indicated in the table 3 below. A graph was plotted to sow the results.

Current (I)










Voltage (V)










Also the data was recorded for the power generated by the solar cell as shown in the table 4 below. A graph was then plotted to show this output.

Power (W)









Voltage (V)









During the measurements we had some errors that produced a current reading zero Amperes, this however could be as a result of potentiometer resistance changing faster compared to the reading speed of the sensor. Any duplicated data was removed as well. The obtained results showed that the Voc of 10.2 and 0.26V A Isc that is measured on the normal conditions. The data collected indicated 10.4V in Voc and 0.133A in Isc, causing a Voc difference of about 1.9% at the same time the difference in the Isc was about 49%. This outcome is expected because this type of lamp come with a higher intensity wavelength. In this case we see therefore that the solar cell has produced power of about 3W under this illumination giving us the outcome of about 9.1% efficiency.

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Solution to the PID solar problem

Now that we have understood the problem of PID and shown how it is caused, we can set ways of mitigating this problem in order to increase the solar efficiency and hence increasing the company productivity. There are two ways to solve the PID problem including;

a) using the Anti PID BOX usually installed between the inverter and the strings within the panel to polarize the PV module affected by the negative voltage

b) Grounding the negatively charged pole at the DC on the inverter to prevent negative voltage on the strings within the panel.
All together this problem can be prevented by choosing the right PV modules, in this case the frameless modules are good [6].


This project was undertaken to illustrate the problem of the PID in the solar panels and the I-V characterization curve is used as an indication of how this takes place. Since we can effectively demonstrate that the solar panels installed are experiencing the PID, and this can cost the company a lot of money, it is important to put measures in place to control this problem[6].

In this project we've seen how the PID is brought about and the effects. This is a very important experiment for individual businesses or corporates that wants to venture into this line of business to know how they can prevent or mitigate the PID problem so as to increase the efficiency of their solar plants and in so doing increasing the productivity for their companies. Solving the PID problem will lead to cleaner energy in the energy industry.



    Leonard 9/11/2022 10:44:21 PM

    I have chosen solar panel... Can you tell me know the idea about solar research project so I can discuss with teacher now? I have online class now I can discuss with him This assignment we should describe problem And find solution Problem should be an electrical problem , and solution should be electrical solution Based on scenario I have to chose one of these topic and make research report 1) solar panel Or 2) air conditioning units Or 3) electricity meters Or 4) smart grid and power generation Or 5) electrical leakage in some appliances Or 6) gas leakage in large industrial product I have to chose one of these topics And I have to find electrical problem And solve by electrical solutions Also I have to refer research report from internet when to mentions as references





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Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria




LO1 Conduct the preliminary stages involved in the creation of an engineering research project.

P1 Produce a research project proposal that clearly defines a research question or hypothesis.

P2 Discuss the key project objectives, the resulting goals and rationale.

M1 Analyse the project specification and identify any project risks.

D1 Produce a comprehensive project proposal that evaluates and justifies the rationale for the research.

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