Costs of Solar Power from Thermal Concentrators

Solar power from thermal concentrators is otherwise known as concentrating solar power (CSP). The true costs of CSP plants are hard to estimate at present as very few are being built. The economies of scale of CSP plants dictate that systems of tens of megawatts in size must be constructed to obtain competitive costs. At present the industries and markets needed to support the construction of new plants are not well developed and it is exceeding difficult to satisfy the financial conditions needed for new construction, although a few new commercial projects promise to clear the path somewhat. The cost curve below assumes that these barriers to new CSP plant construction can be overcome.

This trend graph shows the cost of concentrating solar power starting at 97 cents per kilowatt-hour in 1980, dropping to 24 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2005, then gradually decreasing to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2020.