A systems level analysis is presented for a solar organic Rankine cycle (S-ORC) for assessing the feasibility of the cycle to be used in small scale rural/residential power generation. A thermodynamic model was generated for a system composed of the collector, the heat transfer fluid, the pump, the expander, and the heat exchangers, using five different working fluids. Based on the collector efficiency and incident radiation, the thermodynamic efficiency of the system was evaluated. For flat panel solar collectors, the highest system efficiency was found to be 6.2% when using R-134a as a working fluid. R-134a also required the least boiler heat transfer area, although its operation required relatively higher pressures. The performance of the solar-ORC system is compared with that of photovoltaic systems and the practicality of these solar thermal systems are discussed in terms of system size and end use.

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