Parametric Analysis on Optimized Design of Hybrid Solar Power Plants

John Cox, William Hamilton, Alexandra Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus Citations


There is increasing interest in utility-scale solar power plants with storage which can flexibly dispatch renewable energy to the grid. However, plant design possesses many degrees of freedom and non-obvious trade-offs in performance. Software tools can estimate or optimize the performance of a specific plant configuration under market and weather conditions of interest; the associated cost parameters and operating assumptions strongly influence estimates of plant performance and decisions regarding optimal sizing. We employ the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Hybrid Optimization and Performance Platform, which incorporates optimal dispatch when evaluating plant performance, and investigate the sensitivity to weather and market conditions, operating limitations, and the presence of a capacity-based incentive. We demonstrate changes in plant performance and optimal sizing with respect to these inputs and discuss implications. Results show that PV-with-battery designs are more profitable under our assumptions, but that designs including a concentrated solar power (CSP) system produce significantly greater annual energy; and that CSP-with-thermal energy storage designs maximizing the benefit-to-cost ratio have an input-dependent linear relationship between the CSP field solar multiple and the hours of storage as the project budget varies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)195-217
Number of pages23
JournalSolar Energy
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 International Solar Energy Society

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-83403


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


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