Monday, May 23, 2016

Can concentrated solar power compete with photovoltaics?

Technical problems, including fire at the world's largest solar plant, are the least among the challenges, which concentrated solar power technology faces. At the time when Ivanpah Solar Power Facility (California) was just a proposal in 2007, the cost of electricity made using concentrated solar power technology was approximately the same as that from photovoltaic solar panels.

Since then, the cost of electricity from photovoltaic solar panels has dropped to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, while for concentrated solar power cost remains at the level of 15 to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour. Prospectives for lowering the cost of concentrated solar power are less promising because it is mostly steel and glass technology. It is also much more challenging to maintain numerous sets of moving mirrors (there are 173,500 of them at Ivanpah facility), than simple and static solar panels. Read more at