Metallic nanoparticles embedded in dielectrics permit enhanced capture absorption and/or scattering of light at specific wavelengths through excitation of plasmons, i.e. the quanta of coherent and collective oscillations of large concentrations of nearly free electrons. In order to maximize the potential of such enhanced absorption in useful tasks, such as the generation of carriers in photocatalysts and semiconductors, it is important to be able to predict and design plasmonic nanocomposites with desired wavelength-dependent optical absorption. Recently, a mixing approach formulated by Garcia and co-workers [Phys. Rev. B, 75, 045439 (2007)] has been successfully applied to model the experimentally measured broadband optical absorption for ternary nanocomposites containing alloys or mixtures of two metals (from Ag, Au or Cu) in SiO 2 dielectric. In this work we present the broadband optical behavior of an important an optical coating dielectric, Si3N4, containing various configuration of nanoparticles of Al, Au, Ag, or Cu. The spectral behavior of various combinations of the metallic species in the dielectrics was optimized to show either broadband solar absorption or strong multiple plasmonic absorption peaks. The applications of such nanocomposite materials in solar energy harvesting and spectral sensing are also presented and discussed.