Integral to photovoltaics is the need to provide improved economic viability. To achieve this goal, photovoltaic technology has to be able to harness more light at less cost. A large variety of concentrating photovoltaic concepts has provided cause for pursuit. To obtain a detailed profitability analysis, a flexible evaluation is crucial for benchmarking the cost-performance of this variety of concentrating photovoltaic concepts. To save time and capital, a way to estimate the cost-performance of a complete solar energy system is to use computer aided modeling. In this work a benchmark tool is introduced based on a modular programming concept. The overall implementation is done in MATLAB whereas Advanced Systems Analysis Program (ASAP) is used for ray tracing calculations. This allows for a flexible and extendable structuring of all important modules, namely an advanced source modeling including time and local dependence, and an advanced optical system analysis of various optical designs to obtain an evaluation of the figure of merit. An important figure of merit: the energy yield for a given photovoltaic system at a geographical position over a specific period, can be calculated.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.