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Concentrating Solar Power 2011: Technology, Costs and Markets

Concentrating Solar Power 2011: Technology, Costs and Markets

This past year has seen the CSP industry move forward with its first wave of global project construction after years of early-stage ambition. Scaling activity in the southwestern U.S. along with multiple project commissions in Spain have afforded CSP players the opportunity to push beyond the industry’s two pillar markets and toward global development, which in turn has attracted a series of investments from large-scale energy conglomerates and financiers.

Still, as industry optimism grows, CSP players are increasingly facing challenges from other renewable energies, and more specifically from PV counterparts, who have leveraged PV’s declining costs and adaptability to create a 14 GW global market. While CSP will have trouble competing directly with PV on a cost per kWh basis, CSP may be able to differentiate itself with its ability to provide more stable, dispatch-able power by integrating thermal storage.

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