U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Solar Energy 85 (2011) 669–675;



Probabilistic modeling of concentrating solar power technologies provides important information regarding uncertainties and sensitivities not available from deterministic models. Benefits of using probabilistic models include quantification of uncertainties inherent in the system and characterization of their impact on system performance and economics. This paper presents the tools necessary to conduct probabilistic modeling of concentrating solar technologies. The probabilistic method begins with the identification of uncertain variables and the assignment of appropriate distributions for those variables. Those parameters are then sampled using a stratified method (Latin Hypercube Sampling) to ensure complete and representative sampling from each distribution. Models of performance, reliability, and/or cost are then simulated multiple times using the sampled set of parameters. The results yield a cumulative distribution function that can be analyzed to quantify the probability of achieving a particular metric (e.g., net energy output or levelized energy cost) and to rank the importance of the uncertain input parameters.