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SunShot initiative

MENA/Chile: Concentrating Solar Benchmark Costs

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 25, 2017
SunShotA tender for 94.5 USD/MWhel in Dubai and an R&D initiative called SunShot in the United States have shown how the cost of concentrated solar power (CSP) could be lowered at a steady pace thanks to economies of scale and optimised manufacturing and operation. Though the solar power market has been the driver for most of these developments, their outcomes are likewise relevant to solar thermal, where concentrating technologies have been used to provide heating or cooling for industrial processes. Two recent webinars organised by Spanish-based consultancy ATA Insights and focused on CSP in the MENA region and Chile had developers and researchers discuss the main drivers for cost cutting and the technology outlook in the short and medium term. The chart illustrates the SunShot aim to bring down the cost of parabolic trough collectors from around 200 USD/m² to 75 USD/m².
Source: Department of Energy, USA

USA: Solar Steam Installation for California’s Pistachio Harvest

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 10, 2017
SunvaporCalifornian start-up Sunvapor has found its first solar steam customer for a demonstration system with the Green Parabolic Trough Collector technology developed in-house. In April 2017, it announced that it had gone into partnership with Horizon Nut to install a 50-kW solar process heat installation at the latter’s pistachio processing facility in Firebaugh. Sunvapor’s CEO and founder Philip Gleckman confirmed that the system is scheduled to come online at the end of this year. The fluid heated to 230 °C is said to be used for pasteurising, blanching and roasting pistachios. Horizon Nut is a growers’ cooperative which collectively processes about 70 % of the pistachios in California. The photo shows a laboratory prototype of the parabolic trough collector with the wooden mounting system. This prototype was used to validate the structural model.
Photo: Sunvapor

USA: SunShot Funds Development of Cost-Effective Concentrating Collectors

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 29, 2016
SunshotOn 28 July, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded grants to six research projects which aim to reduce the costs of concentrating solar collectors. The initiative is called COLLECTS, which is short for Concentrating Optics for Lower Levelized Energy Costs, and focuses on the most expensive component of a CSP plant: the collectors / the reflector. One of the beneficiaries of the COLLECTS budget of nearly USD 9 million is California-based, early-stage technology provider Sunvapor, which is planning to supply the industry with solar steam solutions more cost-effective than natural gas-based steam boilers. COLLECT is part of the DOE’s SunShot initiative started in 2011.

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