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US Department of Energy

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

Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Government (2011)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on June 6, 2011

This is a document from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help local governments and communities developing a solar energy plan. Authorities have realized the main obstacles are often at the administrative and legislative level, so with this document they aim at providing further assistance on how to draft and implement strategic local solar plans.

Heating Water with Solar Energy Costs Less at the Phoenix Federal Correctional Institution (2004)

Submitted by Hans Craen on December 30, 2009

This report was released by the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy section of the U.S. Department of Energy in 2004. It highlights a large-scale solar thermal system installed at the Phoenix Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) and breaks down the statistical output.

The system was financed through an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC), which include an average annual savings of $6,700. The system produces up to 50,000 gallons of hot water daily, 1,000 megawatt-hours of electricity and releases approximately 600 tons of CO2.

Consumer’s Guide: Heat Your Water with the Sun (2004)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on July 30, 2009

This document prepared by the US Department of Energy in 2004, is meant to inform consumers about the use of solar thermal technologies for water and space heating, namely how it works, its benefits, tips to select contractors, incentives schemes and other practical information on how to purchase a solar heating system, its requirements and maintenance obligations, as well as the estimated payback times.

Overview of Solar Thermal Technologies (1999)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on July 29, 2009

This document, from 1999, provides an overview of key solar thermal applications - parabolic troughs, power towers and dish/engine systems - their characteristics, the kind of application they are best suited for, system performance, technologic comparison, together with a cost vs. value analysis.

The Potential Economic Impact of Solar Power Generation Facilities in Nevada (2004)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on June 14, 2009

This study published by the NREL (US National Renewable Energy Laboratory) in 2004 estimates the economic impact, in terms of employment, personal income, and gross state product (GSP) of developing some portion of Nevada’s solar energy generation sources.
In Nevada, although a very high potential for renewable electricity has been registered, almost 90 percent of the electricity generated still comes from coal (53 percent) or natural gas (36 percent).

Reduced Water Consumption in Concentrating Solar Power Systems

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on June 12, 2009

This report from the US Department of Energy on the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, discusses potential methods to reduce water consumption associated with concentrated solar power (CSP) systems. The four technologies covered in the report are parabolic troughs, linear Fresnel, power towers and dish/engine. Parabolic troughs are the most commercially available technology in this group.

50 % Growth and Other Achievements in the USA

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 1, 2009

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) estimates in its latest publication, “U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review 2008”, that the solar thermal market in the United States has grown by 50 % last year, to almost 229,000 m2 (160 MWth). The state with the biggest share of the market is still Hawaii. The number of solar water heaters that the three public utility companies Heco, Helco and Meco rebated even grew by 55 %, to 8,207 systems in 2008 (2007: 5,295 systems).


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