EME 812
Utility Solar Power and Concentration




Welcome to the first lesson of the EME 812. In this lesson, we will overview the main types and principles of solar energy conversion to usable outputs, such as electricity, heat, and fuel. There are quite a few technologies that help to do that. Some of those technologies are quite old and well-known, and some are still subject to current research. We will read a couple of recent review papers to learn about those technologies and their impact. Also, we will spend some time reviewing the concept of efficiency, which is a key metric of any process of energy conversion. Also, at the end of this lesson, I will ask you to refresh your knowledge of units and main terms used in the solar energy studies.

Learning Objectives

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

  1. explain the principles of solar energy conversion;
  2. list the examples and parameters of solar systems across the scale;
  3. calculate efficiency of a solar system, based on system performance information.


Journal article: Crabtree, G.W. and Lewis, N.S., Solar Energy Conversion, Physics Today, 60(3), 37 (2007).

Journal article: Hernandez, R.R. et al., Environmental Impacts of Utility Scale Solar Energy, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 29, 766 (2014).

L. Radovic, Efficiency of Energy Conversion

J. R. Brownson, EME 810 Solar Resource Assessment and Economics. 2.2. Basic Solar Jargon for Energy and Power