Properly quantified performance of a solar-thermal cavity receiver must not only account for the energy gains and losses as dictated by the First Law of thermodynamics, but it must also account for the quality of that energy. Energy quality can only be determined from the Second Law. In this paper, an equation developed for the Second-Law efficiency of a cavity receiver is presented as an evolution from the definition of available energy or “availability” (occasionally called exergy). The variables required are all either known or readily determined. The importance of considering the Second-Law is emphasized by a comparison of the First- and Second-Law efficiencies around an example of data collected from two receivers that were designed for different purposes, where the attempt was made to demonstrate that a Second-Law approach to quantifying the performance of a solar-thermal cavity receiver lends more complete insight than does the conventional solely applied First-Law approach.

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