Optimal Sizing and Dispatch of Solar Power with Storage

John Cox, William Hamilton, Alexandra Newman, Janna Martinek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Designers of utility-scale solar plants with storage, seeking to maximize some aspect of plant performance, face multiple challenges. In many geographic locations, there is significant penetration of photovoltaic generation, which depresses energy prices during the hours of solar availability. An energy storage system affords the opportunity to dispatch during higher-priced time periods, but complicates plant design and dispatch decisions. Solar resource variability compounds these challenges, because determining optimal system sizes requires simultaneously considering how the plant will be operated under the imposed market and weather conditions. We develop an approach to analyze the economic performance of hybrid and single-technology solar power plants, which incorporates optimal dispatch, and considers the expected electricity market and weather conditions. We utilize the System Advisor Model software package to simulate the operation of multiple renewable generation and energy storage technologies, in conjunction with hourly-fidelity generation decisions determined by a revenue-maximizing, mixed-integer linear program. We show that, under our assumed market and weather conditions, the lifetime benefit-to-cost ratio can be improved by 6 to 19 percent, relative to a baseline design without optimizing, and that a concentrating solar power with thermal energy storage design produces significantly more energy per year, but is less profitable under our cost assumptions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2579-2617
Number of pages39
JournalOptimization and Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-82923


  • Black-box optimization
  • Concentrating solar power
  • Dispatch optimization
  • Hybrid renewable systems
  • Mixed-integer linear programming
  • Photovoltaics


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