Universal Economic Optimization Paths for Solar Hot Water Systems in Commercial Buildings

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This paper presents a simplified methodology for determining the economically optimal size of a solar hot-water system installed in a commercial building. For relatively broad climatological areas, the methodology can be used to construct universal economic optimization paths. These paths enable commercial building owners and solar energy firms to determine quickly and easily the optimal size solar system as a function of the annual hot water load and solar radiation, for a given set of economic parameters. Sensitivity analyses can also be easily performed to determine how optimal size and solar fraction changes with different economic parameters and governmental incentives.