A comprehensive solar technology systems analysis model is being developed at NREL to support program planning for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP). This new model will calculate the costs, finances and performance of current solar technologies including solar heat (typically solar domestic hot water), concentrating solar power, photovoltaics (PV) and solar hybrid lighting. The primary function of the model is to allow users to investigate the impact of variations in physical, cost, and financial parameters to better understand their impact on key figures of merit. Although a variety of models already exist to examine various issues with each individual technology, this model, when fully implemented in the future, will have the capability to analyze and compare different solar technologies (utility-scale PV vs. CSP for example) within the same interface while making use of similar cost and financing assumptions. A central idea for this model is to have a user-friendly interface while at the same time having a detailed, accurate analysis for each of the technologies. The underlying performance engine, which is hidden from the user, is TRNSYS, which already contains an extensive library of solar technology models. There are built-in cost models or the user can access their own spreadsheet-based cost model. The financial model is an extension of an existing validated finance model. This paper will discuss the goals and implementation of the model and present several sample results for interesting sensitivities.

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