EME 810
Solar Resource Assessment and Economics

5.4 Discussion Activity 1 - Light as a Mineral Resource


Discussion Activity

We have been discussing the value of goods in an economic sense so far. The tendency in the public is to judge the value of a solar technology in a given locale based on metrics (perceived or measured) of the quantity of light (MWh). But I would like you to consider an alternate valuation system related to the value of a mineral resource.

So, in this discussion,

  1. Please offer your perspective and supporting analysis for: the valuation of light as a mineral resource relative to the quantity of light in a given locale, where the unit cost is in $/Wp (dollars per peak watt).

    Here the subscript "p" stands for "peak", meaning that system performance is measured at AM1.5 lab conditions of 1000 W/m2 solar shortwave spectrum irradiance and cell temperature of 25°C. It is a way to normalize performance when comparing modules/systems. The peak watt is also used to describe the "installed capacity" of solar farms or rooftops.
  2. Which metrics - irradiation (MWh) or dollars per peak watt ($/Wp) do you think will be more important to communicate to a client and stakeholders for solar energy project design?

Take time to think about this based on our reading and post your thoughts on the forum.

This discussion will take place in the Lesson 5 Discussion Activity 5.1 Forum in Canvas.

Grading Criteria

Discussions will be graded on the quality of your post and the thoughtful contributions you make to your classmates' posts. Please see the Discussion Expectations and Rubric under Orientation/Resources.


Typically initial posts are due in the middle of the study week (Sunday), and comments and replies are due by the end of the study week (Wednesday). Please see the Canvas calendar for specific due dates.