This was a pretty good lesson to help us to put boundaries around our design projects. We learned that we need to identify the constraining features of our design problem. A design effort without constraints and boundaries can quickly spiral out of control, having too many possibilities to draw from. We address that challenge using the goal of solar energy design and engineering:
To maximize the solar utility for the client or group of stakeholders in a given locale.
We found that locale in this course means a broad range of factors in time and space that affect SECS design. Locale is tied to the meteorology and physical placement of the SECS, and locale is tied to the cost of fuels (here, as electricity) and incentives available to our client.
Which brings us back to our client. We do not design to make the coolest SECS (although, a really cool SECS is pretty fun to admire and brag about), we design to offer the highest solar utility to our client, as an individual, a corporation, a community, or a group of stakeholders with financial shares in the potential development. It is the client who responds to high fuel costs (seeking a solar substitute), and it is the client who responds to incentives in project proposals. We have observed that there are market and government drivers that can strongly affect the financial portion of the solar utility argument. Keep in mind also that our clients will not always behave as rational agents within the market. It is our job to learn about the locale and the client to best serve them in the design and project development arc.
Reminder - Complete all of the Lesson 6 tasks!
You have reached the end of Lesson 6! Double-check the to-do list on the Lesson 6 Learning Outcomes page to make sure you have completed all of the activities listed there before you begin Lesson 7. And get ready for Lesson 7, because it will be a bit more intensive than Lessons 5 and 6.