Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Fall 2010


Robert Dryden

Course Title

Advanced Engineering Economics

Course Number

EMGT 535/635


Solar cells, Photovoltaic power generation -- Economic aspects, Renewable energy resources, Solar energy -- Economic aspects, Solar cells -- Design and construction


Recently there has been a strong push in the United States to move away from dependence on foreign oil. This change in thought has spurred the development of more sophisticated power generation technologies. There are new ideas like harnessing tidal forces and using different forms of biodiesels. There are also refinements on existing technologies such as the use of liquid natural gas, wind turbines, and various solar technologies.

Confronted with these new choices, businesses and individuals need a way to determine if subsidizing their electrical needs with one of these options is a wise decision. Unfortunately the applications for the differing technologies vary greatly in scope. It is not practical to form a model that allows all of these to be assessed on common ground. The thought process that goes into understanding whether installing an alternative power source is a valid idea is the same.

Solar panels are one of the easiest and most accessible options for generating additional power. They are quickly becoming one of the major contenders for next generation power sources. [2] This paper will examine the installation of solar panels for both residential and small business use. The objective is to determine the payback period associated with the installation and maintenance costs of the system coupled with a feed-in tariff buyback scheme modeled after German systems. This payback period will then be compared to the established acceptable duration to determine whether the project is acceptable.

A standard engineering economic analysis procedure will be utilized. This will include problem definition, alternative development, outcome and cash flow generation, criterion selection, analysis and comparison of the alternatives, and finally selection of the preferred alternative.


This project is only available to students, staff, and faculty of Portland State University

Persistent Identifier