Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

William J Hutzel

Committee Member 1

Robert J Herrick

Committee Member 2

Martí Rosas-Casals


When considering the value of utility scale solar project and its impact, there are many variables to weigh and this can become a complex task without guidance. One key to a successful project is the ability to organize ideas and break down problems by sections. An array is only as valuable as the energy that it offsets. The rates that are offered in complex generation scenarios often vary from the more stable rates seen by residential spaces. Because of this, an investment in a solar array may not have the same straight forward payback as a residence. Essentially, the array’s value is restricted by the rate that the utility is charging, which is driven by predictive variables. This could either be beneficial to the payback of the investment or detrimental depending on the rates being avoided. By systematically analyzing weather data, utility pricing trends, performance, and energy escalation, a process was produced to deliver clarity as to the value of a utility scale solar array. With these topics covered, combined with a projection of value, an understanding of the opportunities ahead has become clear.