NREL finds up to six-cent per kilowatt-hour extra value with concentrated solar power

Jun 10, 2014
solar power

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) projects would add additional value of 5 or 6 cents per kilowatt hour to utility-scale solar energy in California where 33 percent renewables will be mandated in six years, a new report by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has found.

The report, "Estimating the Value of Utility-Scale Solar Technologies in California Under a 40% Renewable Portfolio Standard," finds that CSP, with its ability to store energy for several hours or more, helps maintain firm capacity in the hours when the sun is below the horizon. Compared to variable generation technologies this translates to an increase in value of 5 cents per under a 33% renewable standard – the mandate for 2020 – or 6 cents per hour under a 40% renewable standard. The added value means that at peak demands, CSP can help lower electricity bills.

"CSP adds significant additional value when compared to less flexible generation sources," NREL CSP Group Manager Mark Mehos, co-author with Jennie Jorgenson and Paul Denholm of the study, said. "As the penetration of renewables rises, so does the relative value of CSP. CSP could also allow greater penetration of PV by making the grid more flexible and reducing curtailment of PV by generating energy after the sun sets. We intend to investigate this in more detail for the remainder of this year."

While photovoltaic modules capture the sun's light and turns it into useable electricity, CSP technologies concentrate the sun's energy and capture that energy as heat, which then drives an engine or turbine to produce electrical power. However, the thermal energy CSP generates can be held back for several hours via storage systems such as molten salts – and then used after the sun sets when demand is still high for, say, air conditioning, television, and lighting.

The new report, funded through the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in support of its SunShot Initiative, compares the total operating costs of a system with and without an incremental amount of CSP with thermal energy storage or solar PV. It also analyzes capacity value. The report is the second in a series of analyses of the value of CSP with storage. The previous report was "Estimating the Performance and Economic Value of Multiple Concentrating Solar Power Technologies in a Production Cost Model.

Explore further: NREL report finds similar value in two concentrating solar power technologies

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ForFreeMinds
1 / 5 (3) Jun 10, 2014
This article would have been better if there was a mention of the estimated cost of electricity generated by CSP projects. That it "would add additional value of 5 or 6 cents per kilowatt hour" says nothing about it's cost as compared to coal or gas generated electricity. And that additional value is relative to what?

Last time I looked at the cost of electricity generated by solar power, it was so high that a reduction of 6 cents per KWhr still makes it several times more expensive than electricity generated from gas/oil.
Shootist
1 / 5 (3) Jun 10, 2014
Hell, I only pay 9 cents a KW/hr as it is.

Stay the hell away from me you stupid prog-lib-leftist idiots.
strangedays
5 / 5 (2) Jun 10, 2014
@ ForFreeMinds -
Last time I looked at the cost of electricity generated by solar power, it was so high that a reduction of 6 cents per KWhr still makes it several times more expensive than electricity generated from gas/oil.


I suspect it has been a while since you last looked. The price of solar is on a rapid down hill slide. Here is a couple of recent articles to catch you up.

http://cleantechn...n-texas/

http://blogs.tele...minance/
Mike_Massen
5 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2014
Shootist admitted
Hell, I only pay 9 cents a KW/hr as it is.
Get with the program and don't pay so much, isn't economics & keeping up to date a strong point of smart people, aye ?

Mike_Massen
5 / 5 (2) Jul 19, 2014
ForFreeMinds muttered laconically
Last time I looked at the cost of electricity generated by solar power, it was so high that a reduction of 6 cents per KWhr still makes it several times more expensive than electricity generated from gas/oil.
Just when was that (last century perhaps) & what numbers are you referring to please ?