EME 811
Solar Thermal Energy for Utilities and Industry

6.0 Introduction


Informed decision making via an integrative design process and iterative energy simulations (early and often) is crucial during the development of a building design.

— Witmer & Brownson, 2010

This lesson introduces the concept of load and demonstrates how the fundamental heat transfer computations are applied to simple practical scenarios. In the previous lessons we focused on how the solar raditaion is converted to heat and how much useful gain is acquired from different collectors. Now we are moving into the applications zone. Let us see what kind of work that heat does next. You will have an opportunity to run a SAM model for a small scale solar heating system and see how the performance depends on different initial parameters and how it varies over time. Chapter 10 in D&B contains a number of example problems, which explain the behind-the-scene math for such modeling. 

Learning Objectives

  • Understand  the concept of load.
  • Apply themal calculation methods to find energy balance and efficiency of water heating systems
  • Apply a simulation tool to a model solar thermal system.
  • Analyze solar thermal system performance.

What is due for Lesson 6?

This lesson will take us one week to complete. Specific directions for different assignments are given in the table below and within this lesson pages.

Tasks Assignment Details Access/Directions


  • D&B Chapter 9 (12 pages)
  • D&B Chapter 10 (24 pages)


  • Alleyne A. and Jain N., Transient Thermal System, Focus on Dynamic Systems and Control, 2014, pp. 4-12 (journal article)
  • Browse and read about TRNSYS
  • Browse and read about EnergyPlus
  • Browse and read about SAM
  • Registered students can use the following link to access the online textbook through the University Library.
  • Alleyne and Jain article is available via Lesson 6 Module in Canvas.
Assignment SAM model of a water heating system (based on D&B example, pp. ) Specific directions for the assignments are provided on the Assignment page of this lesson.
Quiz 10 multiple choice questions related to Lesson 6 readings Registered students can access the quiz in the Lesson 6 module in Canvas.
Course Project  In lieu of discussion, this week think about the topic or scenario you would like to analyze in your Design Proposal for this course. Share your proposed topic on the Project Topic discussion board in Course Project module in Canvas. Note: it is not final - the main goal is to start thinking in this direction and collect peer feedback.


If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions and Answers discussion forum in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.