Project Description

Analysis of CSP plants for the definition of energy policies: the influence on electricity cost of solar multiples, capacity factors and energy storage

Izquierdo, S.; Montañés C.; Dopazo C.; Fueyo N.

Energy Policy. 2010


The effect on the cost of electricity from concentrating solar power (CSP) plants of the solar multiple, the capacity factor and the storage capacity is studied. The interplay among these factors can be used to search for a minimal-cost objective that can serve as a technical criterion to guide in the design of economic incentives for CSP plants. The probability-density function of irradiation is used in conjunction with screening models to evaluate the performance characteristics and costs of concentrating solar power plants. Two technologies have been analyzed in this study: parabolic-trough and tower plants. The results provide information to define the optimal operational range as a function of the desired objective. Thus, it is possible to derive a technical criterion for the design of CSP plants which optimizes the solar electricity produced and its generation cost. The methodology is applied to Spain, and the analysis of the results shows that a solar energy production of 37 kWh/m2/year for tower plants and 66 kWh/m2/year for parabolic-trough ones define the approximate optimal working conditions for the mean DNI in Spain.