Technical Briefs

Comparative Economic Analysis of Concentrating Solar Technologies

[+] Author and Article Information
Brandon Duquette

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Loyola Marymount University,
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Todd Otanicar

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Tulsa,
Tulsa, OK 74104

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Manuscript received January 10, 2012; final manuscript received August 24, 2012; published online November 21, 2012. Assoc. Editor: Robert Palumbo.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 135(2), 024504 (Nov 21, 2012) (4 pages) Paper No: SOL-12-1007; doi: 10.1115/1.4007936 History: Received January 10, 2012; Revised August 24, 2012

One of the noted benefits of concentrating photovoltaics (PV) is the reduced cell area which results in reduction of the overall system cost. A variety of studies have looked at the cost for concentrating PV systems and made comparisons to concentrating solar thermal power plants, typically resulting in concentrating solar thermal power having lower system costs. Recently, a widespread design space was assessed for the potential efficiency improvements possible with a coupled hybrid PV/thermal solar energy system for electricity generation. The analysis showed that modest efficiency improvements could be made but no assessment of the economic impact was made. Although modest efficiency gains can be made, such a hybrid system requires more components than one of the conventional stand alone concentrating solar power plant on its own resulting in significantly different system costs. As a result, we look to compare the overall system costs of three different solar power technologies: concentrating PV, concentrating solar thermal, and the concentrating hybrid approach. Additionally, we will focus on documenting the necessary hybrid efficiencies to make a hybrid system competitive as well as the feasibility and means for achieving these efficiencies.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic representations of concentrating solar energy systems (a) CSP, (b) CPV, and (c) CPV/T




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