Solar Energy Conversion Systems - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123970213, 9780123973153

Solar Energy Conversion Systems

1st Edition

Authors: Jeffrey Brownson
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123970213
eBook ISBN: 9780123973153
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 5th November 2013
Page Count: 480
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Solar energy conversion requires a different mind-set from traditional energy engineering in order to assess distribution, scales of use, systems design, predictive economic models for fluctuating solar resources, and planning to address transient cycles and social adoption. Solar Energy Conversion Systems examines solar energy conversion as an integrative design process, applying systems thinking methods to a solid knowledge base for creators of solar energy systems. This approach permits different levels of access for the emerging broad audience of scientists, engineers, architects, planners, and economists. Traditional texts in solar energy engineering have often emerged from mechanical or chemical engineering fields. Instead, Solar Energy Conversion Systems approaches solar energy conversion from the perspectives of integrative design, environmental technology, sustainability science, and materials science in the wake of amazing new thin films, polymers, and glasses developed by the optoelectronics and semiconductor industries. This is a new solar text for the new generation of green job designers and developers. It’s highlighted with vignettes that break down solar conversion into useful stories and provides common points of reference, as well as techniques, for effective estimation of evolving technologies. 

Key Features

  • Contextualizes solar conversion for systems design and implementation in practical applications
  • Provides a complete understanding of solar power, from underlying science to essential economic outcomes
  • Analytical approach emphasizes systems simulations from measured irradiance and weather data rather than estimations from "rules of thumb"
  • Emphasizes integrative design and solar utility, where trans-disciplinary teams can develop sustainable solar solutions that increase client well-being and ecosystems services for a given locale


The SECS text is designed for a new 3rd-4th year undergraduate solar course or an introductory graduate course in solar energy engineering and the science of solar materials and technologies.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Chapter 01. Introduction
    • Abstract
    • Design Concept
    • Instructional Approach
    • Suggested Course Schedule with Text
    • Communication of Units and A Standard Solar Language
  • Chapter 02. Context and Philosophy of Design
    • Abstract
    • A Rationale and History for Design of SECS
    • Systems and Patterns
    • Systems Design
    • The Ethics of Sustainability
    • Ecosystem Services
    • Limitations of the Goal
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Resources
  • Chapter 03. Laws of Light
    • Abstract
    • Light is A Pumping System
    • SECS and Light
    • Light is Directional
    • Light is Spectral
    • Light Decreases with Distance
    • Four Laws of Light
    • Kirchoff’s Law
    • Wien’s Displacement
    • Planck’s Law
    • Stephan-Boltzmann Equation and Fractions of Radiation
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 04. Physics of Light, Heat, Work, and Photoconversion
    • Abstract
    • Breakthrough: Not Light or Heat—Both
    • Light for a Caloric Response
    • Materials in Energy Conversion Systems
    • Selective Surfaces and Graybodies: Opaque
    • Radiative Exchange for One Surface
    • Radiative Exchange for Two Surfaces
    • Reflectivity and Reflectance for Semi-transparent Materials
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 05. Meteorology: the Many Facets of the Sky
    • Abstract
    • Air Masses
    • The Sky as Multiple Climate Regimes
    • No Sky Model
    • Blackbody Accounting (No Sky Cover)
    • A Change of Variables: 0–100 Round Numbers
    • Blackbody + Graybody Accounting (no sky cover)
    • Graybody Accounting with A Cover
    • Graybody Accounting with A Cover and A Leaky Valve
    • The Role of Clouds
    • Clear Sky Modeling
    • Components of Light
    • Hottel Clear Sky Beam Model (1976)
    • Bird Clear Sky Model (1981)
    • Spatio-Temporal Uncertainty
    • Robot Monkey Does: Space-Time
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 06. Sun-Earth Geometry
    • Abstract
    • Experiment with A Laser
    • Spatial Relations
    • Spherical Coordinates
    • Earth-Sun Angles
    • Time Conversions
    • Moments, Hours, and Days
    • Sun-Observer Angles
    • Collector-Sun Angles
    • A Comment on Optimal Tilt
    • Robot Monkey Does: Spherical Derivation!
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 07. Applying the Angles to Shadows and Tracking
    • Abstract
    • Shading Estimation
    • Projections of Spherical Data
    • Shading Estimation: Critical Point and Plotting
    • Wing Wall
    • Awning
    • Array Packing
    • Tracking Systems
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 08. Measure and Estimation of the Solar Resource
    • Abstract
    • Measuring Light
    • Measurement Terminology:
    • Meteorological Years: Collage of Data
    • Human Vision: Logarithmic Detection versus Linear
    • Gross Measure: Sunshine Duration
    • Pyranometer: Global Irradiance Measurements
    • Diffuse and Direct Normal Measures
    • Satellite Measures of Irradiation
    • Empirical Correlations for Components
    • When Empirical Correlations are not Appropriate
    • Robot Monkey Does: Network Solar Resource Assessment!
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 09. Solar Energy Economics
    • Abstract
    • Flows and Stocks
    • The Value, Reserve, and Elasticity of Light
    • Energy Constraint and Response
    • So Many Goods: Co-Products and Co-Generation
    • Government and Markets
    • Managing the Grid
    • Externalities
    • Utility, Risk, and Return
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 10. Solar Project Finance
    • Abstract
    • Time Value of Money
    • Solar Savings
    • Life Cycle Cost Analysis
    • Costs and Savings
    • Discrete Analysis
    • Gotta Gotta Payback
    • Gains, Loads Losses
    • Solar Fraction
    • Continuous Analysis
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 11. The Sun as Commons
    • Abstract
    • Goods and Values
    • Private Goods
    • Club Goods
    • Common-Pool Resource:
    • Public Goods
    • Managing the Commons
    • Framework: Enter the Client as Arbitrator
    • Framework: Emerging Local Policy Strategies
    • Framework: Systems Sustainability Assessment as LCA
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 12. Systems Logic of Devices: Patterns
    • Abstract
    • Pattern Language in Solar Energy Conversion Systems
    • Cavity Collectors—The Pattern of Rooms
    • Flat Plate Collector—The Pattern of Simple Surfaces
    • Tubular Collector—The Pattern of a Geometry Working with the Sun
    • Parasoleils—The Pattern of Shading
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 13. Systems Logic of Devices: Optocalorics
    • Abstract
    • Cover-Absorber: Optical Performance
    • Robot Monkey “Covers”: Reflectivity of Polarized Light
    • Fin-Riser-Fluid: Thermal Performance
    • Collector Efficiency Factor: F
    • Collector Heat Removal Factor: FR
    • Putting it All Together
    • SHW Example
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 14. Systems Logic of Devices: Optoelectronics
    • Abstract
    • Changes in Electronic State
    • Photovoltaic Effect
    • Cell-Module-Array
    • PV Cell Characterization
    • Characteristic Measures of Cells and Arrays
    • PV Systems Integration and Simulation Tools
    • Intrinsic/Extrinsic Properties in PV
    • Robot Monkey Does: Minority Charge Carriers!
    • Metrics: Performance and Unit Costs
    • Capacity Factors: USA
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 15. Concentration—The Pattern to Manipulate Light
    • Abstract
    • Concentration Limits
    • Methods of Concentration
    • Mirrors and Lenses
    • The Case for Steam
    • CSP Performance
    • SCADA
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Chapter 16. Project Design
    • Abstract
    • The Importance of Integrative Design
    • Design
    • Policy
    • Economics
    • The Discovery Phase: Predesign
    • The Design Phase
    • Solving for Pattern
    • Solar Utility for the Client and Locale
    • Revisiting the Goal of Solar Design
    • Problems
    • Recommended Additional Reading
  • Appendix A. Energy Conversion Systems
    • Robot Monkey’s Last Stand: Heat Pumps, Heat Engines, Entropy, and Modern Thermodynamics
    • Entropy is not “Disorder”
    • State Parameters of Thermodynamics: Cakes and Boiled Eggs
    • Foundations of Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics
  • Appendix B. Numeracy and Units in Solar Energy
  • Bibliography
  • Index


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© Academic Press 2014
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About the Author

Jeffrey Brownson

Jeffrey R. S. Brownson, Associate Professor of Energy & Mineral Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering; Solar Option Lead: iMPS Renewable Energy & Sustainability Systems, The Pennsylvania State University

Affiliations and Expertise

Associate Professor of Energy & Mineral Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering; Solar Option Lead: iMPS Renewable Energy & Sustainability Systems, The Pennsylvania State University


"...distinguishes itself by addressing the readers of diversified disciplines in a simple way by moving more complex mathematics out to associated user-friendly computer programs." --Energy Technology, Solar Energy Conversion Systems

"...Elsevier Science and Technology Books...has published three books about solar energy...masterworks from world-renowed experts who have championed solar energy for decades...Solar Energy Conversion Systems,...Solar Energy Engineering,...and Solar Energy Markets", September 2014