I'm helping Professor Kreith at CU preparing example problems for a textbook entitled Principles of Sustainable Energy. We want to demonstrate the calculation of the Levelized Cost of Energy for a Parabolic Trough System in Boulder, Colorado using SAM. The system has an aperture area of 1000 sq meters and the initial investment is $115,000. The real discount rate is 10% and we neglect taxes, depreciation, and decommissioning to simplify the analysis. Using SAM, we estimated that the yearly thermal output of the collector is 1.1E6 kWh/year. The capital recovery factor for a 15 year life is 0.13147. With these numbers, we obtained a LCOE of 1.14 cents/kWh (not through SAM). We don't know how to compare this number with the SAM estimate because we don't know where and how to insert the initial investment.

The initial investment in SAM is the total installed cost on the System Costs page. SAM calculates the value as the total of the different cost categories on the page.

SAM calculates the LCOE based on the electric output of the system, not the thermal output. From your description, it sounds like the 1.14 cents/kWh is for kWh of thermal energy rather than electricity.

Although it is possible to use SAM to calculate the thermal output of a parabolic trough field, we've designed the model for trough-based electric power generation systems. It may be better to use an example of a power generation system for the problem.

Please let me know if you'd like help setting up a case in SAM to use for the problem.

Best regards,

Paul.