Photovoltaic decision analysis
Author(s)Goldman, Neil L.
This paper is concerned with the development and implementation of a methodology that analyzes information relating to the choice between flat plate and concentrator technologies for photovoltaic development. A Decision Analysis approach is used to compare and systematically evaluate the two photovoltaic energy conversion systems. This methodology provides a convenient framework for structuring the decision process in an orderly sequential fashion via decision trees, incorporating information on subjective probabilities of future outcomes, and focusing attention on critical options and uncertainties. A significant tenet of the analysis is that any set of energy technologies must be compared on the basis of the cost of generated energy rather than simply on the basis of the cost of hardware production. As a result, the cost analyses presented focus on a comparison of energy generated by the photovoltaic systems in units of $/kWh, rather than on a comparison based on units of $/peak kW. The criterion for choice between the alternative technologies is chosen to be minimization of expected cost per unit of energy generated. After presenting the decision tree framework used to structure the problem, including a classification of the components of the competing technologies, a detailed procedure for calculating the system cost per kilowatt-hour for each path through the decision tree is described for each technology and methods for assessing subjective probability distributions are discussed.
This paper is a product of the Photovoltaics Project Decision Analysis task of the Planning and Analysis for Development of Photovoltaic Energy Conversion System project, supported at the MIT Energy Laboratory, under subcontract to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, by the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration
MIT Energy Laboratory
Photovoltaic power generation
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