Date of Award

August 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Wilkistar Otieno

Committee Members

Seth Darling, Vishnu Nanduri, Chris Yuan, Hamid Seifoddini


Decision Support System, Evaluation, Photovoltaics, PV, Solar Electric, Solar Energy


In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the SunShot Initiative, which aims to reduce the total installation cost of solar technologies by 75% between 2010 and 2020. This implies that solar energy is a top priority in the U.S. and many other countries. The purpose of this dissertation research is focused on creating a model to better understand the performance and reliability of photovoltaic (PV) energy systems over time. The model will be used to analyze, predict, and evaluate the performance of PV systems, taking into consideration technological and geographical location attributes. The overall research goal is to build a "Solar Energy Blue Book," conceptually similar to the Kelley Blue Book, which allows consumers to estimate the value of a used car. The Solar Energy Blue Book, a solar energy system evaluation tool, will allow consumers to estimate the value of a used solar energy system, taking into consideration many factors, such as latitude (which determines the quantity of incoming sunlight) and zip code (which determines the approximate cost of electricity). The Solar Blue Book will allow potential solar energy system consumers the opportunity to understand the return on investment for new and in particular, used solar energy systems.