EME 810
Solar Resource Assessment and Economics

1.1 Learning Outcomes


By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • discriminate between 1) Solar Resource, 2) Solar Energy Conversion Systems, and 3) Solar Goods and Services, such as like electricity, hot water, or shade;
  • explain the goal of solar design in terms of locale, stakeholders/clients, and their preference for solar goods and services - solar utility; 
  • connect the historical and modern contexts for solar energy growth/recession to stakeholder preference, fuel constraints, and solar rights/access.

What is due for Lesson 1?

This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the Canvas Calendar for specific timeframes and due dates - those can vary from semester to semester. Specific directions for the assignments below can be found further within this lesson.

Lesson 1 Assignments
Required Reading:

J.R. Brownson, Solar Energy Conversion Systems (SECS), Chapter 2 - "Context and Philosophy of Design"

J.R. Brownson, Solar Energy Conversion Systems (SECS), Chapter 12 - "Systems Logic of Devices: Patterns"

J. Perlin, "Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy", Chapters 2, 3, and 6.

(These books can be accessed online via Library Resources tab in Canvas or by search of Penn State's Library. You must be a Penn State student to access this text via the E-Reserves).

Alternate: There is only one copy available of "Let It Shine" to access from our web library, and so you may need to either wait for it (and it is a great book) or dig into the analogous content from Butti and Perlin:

K. Butti and J. Perlin, "A Golden Thread: 2500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology",  Chapters 1, 2, and 5  (Much of "Let It Shine" has content that was based from the "A Golden Thread" text and these chapters are very similar).

To Do:

Learning Activity: Identifying the Components of SECSs

Discussion: Historical Development of Energy Resources

Download NREL's System Advisor Model (SAM)

Engage in all Try-This and Self-check activities (not graded)

Topic(s): Energy constraint, value of solar energy, historical cases of developing solar energy


If you have any questions, please post them to the Lesson 1 General Questions and Comments discussion. I will check these forums regularly to respond. Feel free to go through the comments and post your own responses if you are able to help out a classmate.