EME 810
Solar Resource Assessment and Economics

Welcome to EME 810: Solar Resource Assessment and Economics


New to EME 810?

Not registered? Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments and instructor feedback and earn academic credit. Learn more about our program and how to register here.

As a member of the intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems, this course could count toward your RESS degree or toward a Graduate Certificate in Solar Energy.

Quick Facts about EME 810


Dr. Frey Brownson, Associate Professor, Dept. of Energy & Mineral Engineering and Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University.


Mark V. Fedkin, Ph.D. in Geo-Environmental Engineering / Instructor in the Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (Online Masters and Graduate Certificates Program), The Pennsylvania State University.


EME 810 is a required course for the online intercollege Masters of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (iMPS-RESS) program and is geared toward students working on graduate study part-time and from a distance. The course provides students with an in-depth exploration of the physical qualities of the solar resource, estimation of the fractional contributions of irradiance to total demand, and economic assessment of the solar resource. The course utilizes real data sets and resources to provide students context for the drivers, frameworks, and requirements of solar energy evaluation.

EME 810 is also designed to help students achieve three of the programmatic educational objectives established for RESS. It fosters Advanced Critical Thinking by challenging the students to understand the systems approach required to assess the impact of locale and resource, and to understand the economic factors driving decisions for solar technology design and deployment. It applies the Science of Energy and Sustainability through a deep understanding of the solar resource and how it applies to solar energy conversion systems. It promotes Energy and Sustainability Project Development by adding content knowledge to enable design decisions and technology constraints for solar technologies for maximizing solar utility for a client/stakeholder in a given locale.

Learning Environment

This website provides the primary instructional materials for the course. The Resources menu links to important supporting materials, while the Lessons menu links to the course lessons. Canvas, Penn State's course management system, is used to support the delivery of this course as well, as it provides the primary communications, calendaring, and submission tools for the course.

Topics of Study

The content of this course is divided into 12 modules. Each lesson will be completed in approximately 1 to 1.5 weeks.

  • Lesson 1: The Historical Context of Solar Energy Valued in Society
  • Lesson 2: Tools for Time and Space Relationships
  • Lesson 3: Meteorology: the Many Facets of the Sky
  • Lesson 4: Measurement and Estimations of the Solar Resource
  • Lesson 5: Solar Economic Analysis
  • Lesson 6: Maximizing the Solar Utility for the Client in a Locale
  • Lesson 7: Solar Finance
  • Lesson 8: Methods of Prediction
  • Lesson 9: Analysis for Policy Development
  • Lesson 10: Ecosystems Impact from Solar Land Use
  • Lesson 11: Solar Project Proposal Development
  • Lesson 12: Solar Design Project Proposal


This course is offered as part of the Open Educational Resources initiative of Penn State's John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. You are welcome to use and re-use materials that appear on this site (other than those copyrighted by others) subject to the licensing agreement linked to the bottom of this and every page.