Energy Generation & Storage

Energy Generation & Storage

Sustainable Power Systems


In this module, students learn the basics of renewable energy generation, echarge_and_load_protection_in_solar_power_management_isometric_view_leftlectron flow and storage in DC systems. The first workshop will introduce basic terminology and concepts related to electricity. In the second workshop, participants will expand on this knowledge by designing, building and testing real-life circuits to manage USB charging/discharging. Finally, students will be challenged to construct a functional solar powered lantern and charger. By the end of the module, students are given a firm understanding of how to utilize, optimize, and balance energy distribution for sustainability research and projects.


About the Module


This module has been split into three 3-hour workshops. The lab manual is available for viewing and download to the right; in it you will find the details of each day with instructions and important terminology, as well as the equipment list with links for purchase if you would like to attempt these tutorials at home. Each workshop has its own prelab that must be completed before attending the relevant session. You'll be directed to online content and resources designed to give a basic understanding of what you'll be working on for that day, such as circuit components or an illustration of solar power generation with p-n junctions. A key component of the prelabs is the use of a lab notebook. Make sure to bring the notebook with any questions you may have on the relevant prelab content to each session; it is important that you understand these concepts. Each day of the module will cover a different topic and will contain a postlab that must be completed on your own time before attending the next session.

Learning Outcomes: The Energy Generation and Storage module will give students an introduction to circuits and how energy management works. Students will have demonstrated familiarity and ability in:

  • Good laboratory Environment, Health and Safety practice
  • Appropriate selection of electronic components and the use of data sheets
  • Analysis, design and testing of real-life circuits: series vs parallel, current and voltage dividers
  • Creation of a power budget for multicomponent systems
  • The application of basic physical principles of electrical flow and analysis (Ohm’s Law, resistance, AC vs DC voltage and current)
  • Design of charging systems and battery management
  • Incorporation of sustainable generation (solar) into power systems.
  • Understanding of power converters and their efficiencies: DC to DC (Buck, Boost, Buck-Boost), AC transformers

After you've completed your session, you should have a basic understanding of how to utilize, balance, and optimize the use of energy for basic systems.

Session 1: Rechargeable Battery System

  • Review:
    • Basic circuit design & power budgets
    • Energy collection, storage and distribution
  • Build a solar charging system with an LED output

Session 2: Energy Management and Output

  • Review:
    • AC vs. DC currents
    • Charge & discharge controlling
    • Step up & down conversions
  • Build a charge controlled battery to USB output system
  • Begin designing a solar charged battery to LED/USB outputs

Day 3: Energy Storage

  • Complete your design and build the solar charging station with LED/USB outputs


The module will take place in the S-Lab's main facility in the Thimann Labs room 372. Please sign in with the lab manager upon arrival.

Workshops are grouped into one session and available for sign up to the right. You may not sign up for individual workshops or split between multiple sessions. Plan to attend all three workshops in your session.

Before attending your workshop, please review the manual and complete the online training. You are required to complete the EH&S Lab Safety Fundamentals and the EH&S Electrical Safety in Research courses through the UC Learning website before beginning any work in the lab.


  • Take a look at the estimated U.S. energy consumption, by source, for 2016
  • To get an idea of the daily electrical supply and demand for the California ISO, including renewable generation, visit Today's Outlook