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Development Trends and Economics of Concentrating Solar Power Generation Technologies: A Comparative Analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Madlener, Reinhard


    (E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN))

  • Mathar, Tobias

    (RWTH Aachen University)

In this paper we compare development trends, economics and financial risks of alternative large-scale solar power generation technologies (parabolic trough, solar tower, and three different photovoltaic technologies). In particular, a number of European countries, Algeria and the US promote solar power generation. In oure study, we investigate the economic viability of the solar trough projects Andasol-I (Spain), Nevada Solar One (US), the solar tower projects PS-10 and Solar Tres (Spain), and the three PV projects Solarpark Waldpolenz (Germany), Parque Solar Beneixama (Spain) and Nellis Solar Power Plant (US). To this end, we employ a battery of economic indicators, such as net present value (NPV), return on investment (ROI), alternative discount rate (ADR), and amortization time (Ta), and also perform a detailed sensitivity analysis. We find that, in the absence of subsidization, current solar technologies cannot compete with conventional power plant technologies. Overall, we conclude that for realizing the Europe-Middle East-North Africa (EUMENA) Mediterranean ring connection, more research and development is needed on solar power generation technologies for making them sufficiently attractive on economic grounds.

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Paper provided by E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN) in its series FCN Working Papers with number 1/2009.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision: Sep 2010
Handle: RePEc:ris:fcnwpa:2009_001
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  1. Herrmann, Ulf & Kelly, Bruce & Price, Henry, 2004. "Two-tank molten salt storage for parabolic trough solar power plants," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 883-893.
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