EME 810
Solar Resource Assessment and Economics

Course Structure


The Learning Environment

This course will be conducted entirely on the World Wide Web. There are no set class meeting times, but you will be required to complete weekly assignments. Registered students in this course will need to navigate between several environments in the World Wide Web. These include:

  • This site - The instructional materials in this site include 12 lessons, plus this course orientation. Each lesson contains material such as reading assignments, course content, discussion prompts, and learning activities.
  • Canvas - Canvas is the learning management system currently being used by Penn State University. In Canvas, registered students may consult course calendars; communicate with instructors, teaching assistants, and fellow students; submit assignments; receive feedback from the instructor and teaching assistant; take online quizzes and surveys; and check assignment scores and course grades. A link to Canvas appears on every page.

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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.

Topics of study

The content of this course is divided into 12 lessons. Each lesson will be completed in approximately 1 week.

  • 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

Course assignments

Evaluation of student performance will be based on the following assignments:

  1. Quizzes (10%). Students’ understanding of the book, lesson notes, videos and assigned readings will be assessed through electronically administered and automatically graded quizzes.
  2. Learning Activities (35%). Learning activities are distinct from quizzes; this is where we try to apply our learned content in a scenario that will both help to internalize one or two learning objectives and develop our skills that may be useful later in the final project activities for Lessons 11 and 12 (project design proposal).
  3. Class Discussion (15%). There will be regular online class discussions. This is where I can assess your background knowledge, or address gaps in understanding that might not have come through in the main content. This is a graduate course, and your participation in the discussions is crucial to a strong course. The quality of your responses will be assessed in addition to the accuracy of the content.
  4. Lesson 11: Solar Project Proposal Development (10 %) - After developing our knowledge base and project proposal skills in the first 10 lessons, I will asses your developing concepts for a unique solar project design proposal which, in addition to considering broader impacts of policy and ecosystems services, assesses the solar resource and economic criteria of a locale and client base of your choice.
  5. Lesson 12 Solar Design Project Proposal (30 %) - This is your culminating work for the course, a solar project design proposal formed as a fully documented final technical report/proposal. You will assess the solar resource and economic criteria of a locale and client base of your choice in addition to considering broader impacts of policy and ecosystems services.

Refer to the course syllabus for assignment weighting and final grade calculation.