LO1: Develop and apply advanced modelling techniques to solar energy system using software tools

 MEC11121 Solar Energy Technology Modelling and Analysis

Analysis Report

Learning Outcomes Covered:

LO1: Develop and apply advanced modelling techniques to solar energy system using software tools.

LO2: Demonstrate in depth knowledge in modelling and analysis of solar geometry and irradiation data (partial).

LO3: Explain and critically discuss the performance and design considerations of solar energy systems.

LO4: Critically evaluate the overall economic and energetic performance of solar energy systems.

Assessment Type:


Overall module assessment

25% Coursework, 60% Coursework and 15% Class Test

For this assessment:

60% coursework

Assessment Limits:

2000 words

This is a guide, the main aim is to meet the full specification of the assignment and a word count of this order is typical for a good report.

Submission Date:

Thursday, 07 December 2023

Submission Time:

23:59 [UK time zone]

Submission Method:

Via Moodle


Two Attempts + Final

Module leader:


Tutor with Direct Responsibility:



·       You are advised to keep a copy of your assessment solutions.

·       Please note regulation Section B5.3.b regards component weighting.

·       Late submissions will be penalised following the University guidelines as follows: Up to 5 working days late the grade will be capped at P1, and F5 after 5 working days.

·       Extensions to the submission date may only be given by the Module Leader for exceptional circumstances. by submitting appropriate request form from Extenuating circumstances.

·       Feedback on submissions will normally be provided within three working weeks from the submission date.

The University rules on Academic Integrity will apply to all submissions. The student academic integrity regulations contain a detailed definition of academic integrity breaches which includes use of commissioned material; knowingly permitting another student to copy all or part of his/her own work

You must not share your work with other students - this includes posting any of your work in any repository that is accessible to others (such as GitHub) and applies also after you have completed the course. You must not ask coursework-related questions in online for a (such as Stackoverflow) and you must not use ChatGPT or other generative AI tools – this would constitute academic misconduct as it would be commissioning material.

By submitting the report, you are confirming that:

·       It is your own work except where explicit reference is made to the contribution of others.

·       It has not been submitted for any module or programme degree at Edinburgh Napier University or any other institution.

·       It has not been made with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools

Project Brief

Please read the whole document carefully!


A commercial complex owner has commissioned you to produce a feasibility study to improve the energy sustainability of the property. Within the facility there are offices and a small processing plant that requires hot water. The hot water and heating are supplied by a central gas boiler. The usage pattern is typical of a commercial building with closures in weekends and overnight. There is 55m2 of available roof space that is oriented approximately south-east (surface azimuth = 150o) and the roof pitch angle = 45o. The office building is in an open area, therefore no shading from trees or other buildings falls on that side of the roof. The building is located at 45o latitude and 2o longitude (east). The time zone is GMT all year round.

Aim and Objectives:

You have been provided with yearly global incident solar irradiance, ambient temperature, and thermal load profile. Your main task is to design the most economical solar water heating system.


1-    Write a brief theoretical introduction from relevant literature, no more than 1.5 pages to describe the main features of the solar thermal system.

2-    Perform the power calculations. Ensure energy balance is achieved in your code.

3-    Perform cost calculations. You can use simple payback to estimate feasibility. Extra marks will be given for full cost modelling to find levelized cost of energy. You are expected to change the size of the system and choose the most economical system.

4-    Critically investigate the relationship between the system size and cost.

5-    Give recommendation on the best system to install based on all the previous analysis.

6-    Optional: For your proposed system, calculate and analyse the feasibility of adding storage solu- tions. You can also add any advanced work here. 


  •      To perform the calculations, you are required to use MATLAB (not Simulink). The code you write should be added at the end of your report as an appendix.
  • The required irradiance, temperature and consumption data is given in a MATLAB data file (.mat). You can download it from the assessment section on the Moodle page. Each student has their own individual data file named with the matriculation number. Download and use only your data. If there are additional parameters needed, use literature to find a reasonable value and cite appropriately.A commercial complex owner has commissioned you to produce a feasibility study to improve the energy sustainability of the property. Within the facility there are offices and a small processing plant that requires hot water

-       Ensure that your code is clear and understandable for marking. Use comments to explain what you are calculating, variable names, units, etc.

-       The MATLAB code is individual. You are not allowed to use others’ work. Downloading from the in- ternet is counted as plagiarism and will cause you to fail the module. The module tutors have a lot of experience in identifying plagiarised code.LO1: Develop and apply advanced modelling techniques to solar energy systems using software tools.

  •        If you don’t have access to MATLAB, please discuss with the module tutor as soon as possible.
  •        You can use the equations given in the lecture notes, but you can also find other suitable models in the literature. Extra effort will be rewarded (if           correctly implemented).
  •  Your submission should be one pdf file including the report and the MATLAB code in the appendix.
  •  A recommended template for your report is uploaded on Moodle assessment section.

Assumptions to be used in modelling:

  •  In the design, you need to specify how many units of solar water heater are installed. (e.g.10 collec- tors of 2m2 area. NOT 20m2).
  • Assume collectors are connected in parallel.
  • You should work with flat plate collectors not evacuated tube collectors.
  • Assume that no flow happens when there is no net useful heat captured by the thermal system.
  • Assume no storage tank and all the excess thermal is disposed of. However extra marks will be given for including generic storage tank in the calculations.

-        Total installed cost of SWH includes peripherals (piping, sensors, pumps, labour, etc…). 

Notes and tips:

  •      If you are unable to find the incident irradiance, assume that the given irradiance values are incident on the surface of the panels.
  •      Plotting all the yearly data you got is not recommended. Try to summaries the data into more manageable and meaningful graphs, (e.g. sample daily data at different seasons, monthly averaged val- ues, yearly total, yearly average, etc.).

Marking Criteria

The assessment criteria and marking scheme for this assignment is as follows:




Out of

Quality of writing and presentation

(Legibility, conciseness, grammar, fluency, spelling,



Correctness and completeness of the MATLAB code



Criticality and quality of the analysis



Evidence-backed recommendation.



Extra effort: (adding storage, advanced power or cost modelling)






 Solar Collector Input Data

Use the following specifications of FPC in your calculations (if you need extra parameters, use literature, and cite your source).

Flat Plate Thermal Collector




collector area



working fluid



Temp inlet water



absorptivity (α)



transmissivity of glazing (τ)



mass flow rate m_dot



Total loss coefficient (Ut)



fin efficiency (F`)



Cp (water)



total system installed cost



Total FPC O&M cost



system life



gas price



boiler efficiency



*** if you are using n number of swh in parallel, total flow rate = n*m_dot.

Cost Modelling Parameters




Discount rate



Project life



MATLAB input data structure

Your individual (.mat) input file is an hourly data matrix with the size of [8760 x3]

Ambient temperature [C]

GT [Wh/m2]**

Thermal consumption [Wh]

** Total incident irradiance. 

Hand-in Details

The completed assignment should be handed in the following compulsory format:

An electronic copy to Moodle, click on Coursework Submission link and upload the file.

If you hand in the coursework later than that date (and you don`t have a good reason why it`s late), you will be penalised. Late submission of coursework up to 5 days capped at 50% or P1. Over 5 days 0% or F5.

As part of the Consistency in Assessment, please DO NOT include your name on any part of the report.

(a)  Academic skills support

Academic Skills Support: In advance of submission, you can access the support of the academic skills team. They can help you with any aspect of the assessment that you might struggle with, that is not content related. For example, they can help with time-management, effective reading and note-making, and any aspect of academic writing that you might struggle with. This support is provided through workshops and individual appointments which are bookable online via MyNapier: Improve your Academic & Study Skills (napier.ac.uk)

They are also able to provide formative feedback, within 5-days of your deadline, on a draft section, helping you to identify any issues of focus, structure or academic integrity in your writing. Please email Annemarie Douglas for any specific academic skills support you require: a.douglas@napier.ac.uk

(b)  Use of generative AI:

By submitting the report, you are confirming that it is your own work. Please include the following declaration on the first page of the submitted coursework

100% Plagiarism Free & Custom Written, Tailored to your instructions