Dispatch optimization of a concentrating solar power system under uncertain solar irradiance and energy prices

Gökçe Kahvecioğlu, David P. Morton*, Michael J. Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The integration of thermal energy storage into a concentrating solar power system allows for mitigating some of the risk associated with uncertain solar irradiance and uncertain energy prices. We solve a 48 h dispatch optimization model with continually updated conditional point forecasts of both direct normal irradiance (DNI) and electricity prices with a rolling-horizon scheme at hourly resolution over the course of a year. Joint, conditional forecasts for DNI and prices are formed using an autoregressive moving-average time series model with exogenous weather predictors. We guide dispatch using a mixed-integer programming model, but in order to evaluate performance we use the System Advisor Model (SAM) of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. SAM is a techno-economic simulation model that accounts for plant thermodynamics with higher fidelity. Our conditional DNI forecasts improve annual revenue by 4%–12% over using historical forecasts based on data from previous years. Conditional price forecasts improve annual revenue by 6%–19% in the real-time market over analogous historical forecasts. Updating these forecasts every six hours, rather than every 24 h, further improves annual revenue by 5%–6%. We also investigate a method that values terminal inventory in our dispatch optimization model, again when used in a rolling-horizon scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119978
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - Nov 15 2022


  • Optimization
  • Simulation
  • Thermal storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Building and Construction
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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