Concentrating solar power is currently experiencing massive new development, and costs are expected to be 6-10 cents kW/h in the long term.
Solar thermal ‘concentrating’ power stations (CSP) are suitable for areas with high levels of direct sunlight. The technical potential of North Africa for CSP, for example, is much bigger than local demand.
There are various types of solar thermal technologies, offering good prospects for further development and cost reductions. The ‘Fresnel’ collectors have a simple design, and their costs are expected to fall with mass production. For central receiver systems, efficiency can be increased by producing compressed air at a temperature of up to1,000°C, which is then used to run a combined gas and steam turbine.
Developments in storing heat will also reduce CSP electricity generation costs. The Spanish Andasol 1 plant, for example, is equipped with molten salt storage with a capacity of 7.5 hours. A higher level of full load operation can be realised by using a thermal storage system and a large collector field. These components increase initial investment costs, it reduces the cost of electricity generation.
employment in CSP
Under the Reference scenario, jobs in solar thermal technologies hold steady at less than 0.01 million over three decades. If the Energy [R]evolution was enacted, then by 2030 we would see more than 20-fold increase in the employment opportunities from this technology. The highest proportion of the jobs growth is in construction and manufacturing.
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