Welcome to DSECS! Feel free to explore the materials complimentary to the course, Design of Solar Energy Conversion Systems.

Scope of Education:

## Solar Energy

A ubiquitous resource available for energy conversion that supports life, industry, and society.

### Course Overview:

This course establishes foundations for most solar energy conversion technologies, emphasizing the **goal of solar energy engineering:** to 1.) maximize the *solar utility* 2.) for a group of *clients* or *stakeholders* 3.) in a given *locale*. The course also works to explain concepts and implementation of solar conversion processes.

### Context for Solar:

Solar energy conversion is a field containing *systems thinking*, *applied science*, and *engineering*; there are a lot of linked components in the system to keep track of in the design, implementation, and maintenance processes. To *design* technologies relevant to each region requires knowledge of the social context, the energy demands and economic constraints of a *client* or *stakeholders*, as well as knowledge of the specific *locale* or region, considering the quantity and character of the solar resource.

Contact Information if you need to contact me for questions.

### General Programming in Solar Energy

The course requires understanding of many parameters, studying how each parameter changes in relation to the others over the course of time (minutes, days, years). The modern way to work with parameters is to use computing tools: *text editors*, *command interfaces*, *ASCII files*, *math software*, and *simulation software*. In the future, those of your who continue to work in the solar field will come to rely on these simulations and the key tools to derive them to describe the systems behavior of the whole.

### Text Editors

The best text editors for our work are small, simple, and free. On the Mac, I recommend Text Wrangler, while on a Windows system, I highly recommend Notepad++.

Of course, my favorite paid-for text editor is Text Mate.

### LaTeX:

The required templates for homework use LaTeX markup. This is due to the extensive amount of mathematical formulae used in solar energy education, and to keep a consistent look to our homework reports. Keep in mind that markup such as LaTeX is used by NASA engineers, scientists and economists around the world, and lots of students--for a brief background, please see the FAQ: What is TeX? Check the Syllabus for recommended installed software for LaTeX, however...

### ShareLaTeX

LaTeX can be used effectively in class without installing it on a computer! ShareLaTeX is free for projects like this course, and you can access your account from a simple browser. ShareLaTeX also has access to many professional templates, includes line numbers (perfect for debugging code), and colors your markup appropriately in the web text editor (still ASCII text, right?). All key for your work.

### Software and Modeling in Solar Energy

A reliance on simulations means that a skilled professional will also understand some elements of computer programming. Even when using a fully developed program with a graphical user interface to obscure the working functions, it is to your benefit to understand the underlying algorithms.

### Scilab:

Scilab is an open source Matlab clone developed and used extensively for science and engineering problems. We will be using Scilab extensively to solve problems and graph our results.

### Sage:

Sage is an amazing compilation of the Python programming language, which makes extensive use of NumPy and SciPy. Sage is further adapted to be a web notebook for problem solving in science and engineering. Sage is an accessible, viable free open source alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica, and Matlab.

To use sage directly in the web notebook, please visit the sage notebook page.

### SAM: Systems Advisor Model

SAM is a tool developed by the USA Dept. of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL, pronounced "*en*-rel").

SAM uses the powerful simulation engine of TRNSYS (pronounced "*tran*-sis"), developed by the Solar Energy Laboratory at the University of Wisonsin--Madison and by TESS (Thermal Energy Systems Specialists).