Asee peer logo

Using Recycled Photovoltic Modules and Batteries for Engineering Education, Student Projects, and as Viable Portable, Backup Storage Power Sources

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Energy Conversion and Conservation Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Robert W. Fletcher Lawrence Technological University

visit author page

Robert Fletcher joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Lawrence Technological University in the summer of 2003, after two decades of various industry engineering positions in research, and product development.

Dr. Fletcher earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington, in Seattle, and the Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering, both from the University of Michigan.

He teaches a number of alternative energy courses at Lawrence Tech. Dr. Fletcher and his student research team is focusing on energy usage and efficiencies of several traditional and alternative energy systems.

visit author page


Naim R. Shandi Lawrence Technological University

visit author page

Undergraduate student in Electrical Engineering at Lawrence Technological University.

visit author page

Download Paper |


As the efficiencies of new photovoltaic (PV) modules continue to increase, and their purchase prices dramatically decrease, companies and organizations that were early adopters of PV energy sources are now often upgrading their sometimes decades-old PV arrays to the newer, higher efficiency PV systems. The installation of these upgraded PV systems often, unfortunately, result in the older and fully depreciated, but still reasonably functional, PV modules being hastily disassembled (sometimes destructively), scraped and sent to a landfill. Recently, the Alternative Energy Engineering program at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) received donated, scrapped, and older Isofoton I-94/24 PV modules from Masco Corporation, a local industrial partner of the LTU College of Engineering. In this paper, the faculty and student authors show how these scrapped, but still functional, PV modules can yet have a useful life. The initial performance assessment of each module by the authors using a simple, low-coast variable resistance testing set-up to sort-out working and non-working modules is discussed. Examples of the generated module performance test data are presented. Also reviewed are how these test data, along with Isofoton product literature, were used in the circuit design for their integration with recycled 12-volt lead-acid batteries (available from a previous university project) into a portable, and expandable, back-up, photovoltaic power-source student project. Also, a possible approach for how this integrated system could serve as a prototype for how such recycled modules and batteries might be used for viable energy storage systems in the future is proposed. Lastly, student feedback regarding their experience, knowledge gained, and the benefits they received in participating in this project are documented.

Fletcher, R. W., & Shandi, N. R. (2019, June), Using Recycled Photovoltic Modules and Batteries for Engineering Education, Student Projects, and as Viable Portable, Backup Storage Power Sources Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33515

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015