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Shedding light on solar technologies'A techno-economic assessment and its policy implications

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  • Peters, Michael
  • Schmidt, Tobias S.
  • Wiederkehr, David
  • Schneider, Malte
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    Abstract

    Solar power technologies will have to become a major pillar in the world's future energy system to combat climate change and resource depletion. However, it is unclear which solar technology is and will prove most viable. Therefore, a comprehensive comparative assessment of solar technologies along the key quantitative and qualitative competitiveness criteria is needed. Based on a literature review and detailed techno-economic modeling for 2010 and 2020 in five locations, we provide such an assessment for the three currently leading large-scale solar technologies. We show that today these technologies cannot yet compete with conventional forms of power generation but approach competitiveness around 2020 in favorable locations. Furthermore, from a global perspective we find that none of the solar technologies emerges as a clear winner and that cost of storing energy differs by technology and can change the order of competitiveness in some instances. Importantly, the competitiveness of the different technologies varies considerably across locations due to differences in, e.g., solar resource and discount rates. Based on this analysis, we discuss policy implications with regard to fostering the diffusion of solar technologies while increasing the efficiency of policy support through an adequate geographical allocation of solar technologies.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 10 (October)
    Pages: 6422-6439

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:10:p:6422-6439

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

    Related research

    Keywords: Photovoltaics (PV) Concentrating solar power (CSP) Technology policy;

    References

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    1. Bagnall, Darren M. & Boreland, Matt, 2008. "Photovoltaic technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4390-4396, December.
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    7. Izquierdo, Salvador & Montañés, Carlos & Dopazo, César & Fueyo, Norberto, 2010. "Analysis of CSP plants for the definition of energy policies: The influence on electricity cost of solar multiples, capacity factors and energy storage," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 6215-6221, October.
    8. Kevin Ummel & David Wheeler, 2008. "Desert Power: The Economics of Solar Thermal Electricity for Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East," Working Papers 156, Center for Global Development.
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    12. Fthenakis, Vasilis & Mason, James E. & Zweibel, Ken, 2009. "The technical, geographical, and economic feasibility for solar energy to supply the energy needs of the US," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 387-399, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. Hoppmann, Joern & Peters, Michael & Schneider, Malte & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2013. "The two faces of market support—How deployment policies affect technological exploration and exploitation in the solar photovoltaic industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 989-1003.
    2. Peters, Michael & Schneider, Malte & Griesshaber, Tobias & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2012. "The impact of technology-push and demand-pull policies on technical change – Does the locus of policies matter?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1296-1308.
    3. Purohit, Ishan & Purohit, Pallav & Shekhar, Shashaank, 2013. "Evaluating the potential of concentrating solar power generation in Northwestern India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 157-175.
    4. Dong, Changgui & Wiser, Ryan, 2013. "The impact of city-level permitting processes on residential photovoltaic installation prices and development times: An empirical analysis of solar systems in California cities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 531-542.
    5. Tobias Schmidt & Sandeep Dabur, 2014. "Explaining the diffusion of biogas in India: a new functional approach considering national borders and technology transfer," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 16(2), pages 171-199, April.
    6. Janosch Ondraczek, 2013. "Are we there yet? Improving solar PV economics and power planning in developing countries: The case of Kenya," Working Papers FNU-200, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University.
    7. Locatelli, Giorgio & Mancini, Mauro & Todeschini, Nicola, 2013. "Generation IV nuclear reactors: Current status and future prospects," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1503-1520.
    8. Janosch Ondraczek & Nadejda Komendantova & Anthony Patt, 2013. "WACC the Dog: The Effect of Financing Costs on the Levelized Cost of Solar Pv Power," Working Papers FNU-201, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University.

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