Nathan Smith

Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Atmospheric Sciences

First Advisor

Michael Poellot


Solar energy has seen ever-increasing implementation as a power source throughout the world since its introduction into the energy production market. Meteorological parameters including temperature, wind speed and albedo can have significant impacts on the amount of power that is produced at a utility-scale solar farm. This study sought to review the sensitivity of solar energy production to these varying weather parameters. The modeled sensitivity was tested by running simulations using modified weather data and comparing the power output to a baseline simulation. Results show that temperature has a significant effect in the efficiency of the solar panels, and by extension, the power produced. Wind speed plays a significant role in heat dissipation, while modifying albedo results in a change in the power produced as well, albeit to a lesser extent.