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Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) slipped from an all-time high in production of 885 GWh in 2008 to 862 GWh in 2009. New capacity becoming operational in 2010 pushed production to 1121 GWh and an estimated 1475 GWh in 2011. The wholesale value from this technology, also known as Solar Thermal power, generated $68 USD million in 2008, $102 million in 2009, to $362 million in 2010. 2011 sales should top a half billion dollars at an estimated $545 million.

The cost of the installed base of CSP at the end of 2011 is estimated at $9.5 billion. Of that roughly 93% of the installed base value is in parabolic trough technology. By 2015, that percentage is forecast to drop to 70% as power tower, also called central receiving station technology, becomes more common. The other two CSP technologies, linear Fresnel reflector and the Stirling engine/dish design are decidedly lacking although there are a few small projects going forward.

The seemingly smooth upward curve of CSP productions hides some facts that will impinge future growth. At least 2,250 MW of planned CSP capacity was suddenly switched to PV due to the lower installation costs of PV, among other reasons. Also hidden by the high Spanish feed-in tariff is the somewhat low capacity of the plants in Spain due to less than ideal solar resources. Due to the global debt crisis, Spain had considered cutting its artificially high feed-in tariff, but to preserve investor confidence, has chosen to delay bringing some plants online and limiting the output of others.

Thermal energy storage (TES) became a big topic in 2011 with demonstrations of 24 hour generation at a plant in Spain less than four months after startup. Seven to eight hours’ storage appears to be the norm for parabolic trough plants at a cost of roughly an additional 10-11 % of the plant cost but can yield capacity factors over 50%, a key to profitability. Power towers operating at higher temperatures can achieve 10- 15 hours storage at a slightly less cost penalty.

New development and construction activities will intensify in 2012 in Australia, India, and China. China has licensed technology from eSolar and plans to build 2 GW of combined CSP/biomass plants in the next decade. India too has created a 20 GW by 2020 solar wish list. Australia continues to study the technology and is building a world study center of power tower technology.

As 2011 ends, the global capacity of utility-scale CSP will be right at 2 GW with approximately another 2500 to 3500 MW to be operational in 2012, depending on several factors. While some forecasters believe the US concentrating solar power capacity alone will reach 6 GW by 2015, SBI Energy analysis points to factors that suggest an installation rate that while consistent with the opportunities CSP represents, is more indicative of the current global economic and political realities. These factors include the events known as the Islamic Spring, the overall lingering economic doldrums, and current photovoltaic pricing wars as well as utility concerns regarding implementation of renewables on a large scale. While these concerns are not permanent, they will retard implementation of CSP for a few years.

CSP Energy tends to be CSP installation has been directly linked to government interest in the technology. CSP Global Markets provides insight into the current and future utility scale electrical generation CSP markets at both the plant and component level, with particular attention to the solar field elements which represent over 50% of the plant's cost. For every major component, global market size is provided and forecast through 2020 based on the SBI Energy's evaluation of the factors affecting the market growth as a whole.

Report Methodology

The information in CSP Global Markets is compiled from government agency statistics from around the world including from the governments of Spain, Germany, China, India and Australia. Company marketing materials, presentations, and annual reports were studied to gain detailed information. Reports from leading research agencies and universities were analyzed for their broader base perspective. Interviews with vendors and researchers were conducted and international news and industry blogs were monitored to follow the daily moves of this evolving business.

What you'll get in this report

CSP Global Markets provide market analysis and forecasts for the time periods 2012 - 2016 and 2017 - 2021 for utility-scale CSP plants and their components are presented on a global basis at their point of manufacture. National markets are explored specifically for the United States and more generally for over 15 nations.

In addition, the report provides simplified process flow diagrams and descriptions for all technologies discussed, an explanation of the structure of electric utility industry and their decision-making process, plus extensive analysis of the information from governmental and non-governmental organizations with, sometimes vested, interests in the field. Informative company profiles help clarify the sometimes complicated relationships and transactions between the companies, as well as information on their roles and standings in the CSP industry.

This report will help:

  • Marketing managers identify market opportunities, existing and potential competitors, and develop targeted promotion plans for manufactured components.
  • Utility professionals, government officials, and environmental groups stay on top of this growing influence on energy sources.
  • Financing professionals and development executives working with international clients in the energy sectors appreciate the multitude of factors that affect success in proposed projects.
  • Systems development staff and global energy agencies to understand the advantages, disadvantages and status of the technology and identify possible partnerships and development synergies.
  • Information and research center librarians provide market researchers, brand and product managers and other colleagues with the vital information they need to do their jobs more effectively.


  • Introduction
    • Report Methodology
    • What you'll get in this report
  • Executive Summary
    • Scope
    • Methodology
    • Overview
    • CSP Processes
      • Parabolic Trough Technology
      • Linear Fresnel Reflector (LFR)
      • Power Towers
      • Stirling Engine/Dish
        • Table CSP Technology Features
    • Other CSP Factors
      • Thermal Energy Storage
    • Location of plant
    • Transmission of electricity
    • Hybrid plants
    • The Renewable Power Industry
    • Levelized Cost of Energy
    • Cost of CSP Plants
      • Table Costs of typical CSP plant, Percentage of Total Investment Cost 50 MW, 7 hr storage, parabolic trough, DNI 2600
    • Policies to Promote Renewable Energy Sources
    • Global Market status and forecast
    • Regional Influences
      • Desertec Industrial Initiative
    • National Markets
      • Table Forecast of National Markets Installed CSP Capacity, GW, 2012-2016, 2021
      • Table Parabolic Troughs current prices, $ (€)/ sq meter aperture area
      • Turbine Costs
      • Cooling
        • Table Comparison of the impact of hybrid vs dry cooling options
    • Market Drivers and Trends
    • Competitive Profiles
    • End Users
  • Background to CSP Markets
    • Scope and Methodology of Report
    • Market Definition and History
    • General CSP Process Description for electricity generation
    • Market Options
      • Parabolic troughs
      • Power Towers (Central Receiving Stations)
      • Dish/Engine Systems
      • Linear Fresnel Reflectors
      • Thermal Storage
      • Components of CSP
        • Table CSP Technology Features
      • Hybrid Plants
        • Table Calculated cost of electrical energy generation by load type and by plant type (Gas vs. hybrid) 17
  • Comparison of Market Categories
    • Table Features of CSP Categories
    • CSP Plant Size Factors
      • Table Consequences of Sizing Decisions
    • CSP Market Factors
      • Climatic/ Geographic Factors
        • Table Location factors vs. Solar Energy Process
      • Capacity Factor
      • Power Distribution Factors
        • Table Comparison of HVAC vs. HVDC
      • Cooling Process Factors
    • The Renewable Power Industry
      • Value of Electricity from Renewable Sources
      • Key Players
        • Table Stakeholders in Utility Transactions and Decisions regarding Solar Power
        • Table Stakeholders in Utility Transactions and Decisions regarding Solar Power28
      • Levelized Cost of Energy
      • Cost of CSP Plants
        • Table Costs of typical CSP plant, Percentage of Total Investment Cost 50 MW, 7 hr storage, parabolic trough, DNI 2600
      • Policies to Promote Renewable Energy Sources
      • Production Tax Credits
      • Investment Tax Credits
      • Renewable Portfolio Standards
      • Renewable Power Direct Marketing
      • Renewable Feed-in-Tariff
      • Fossil Fuel Emissions Caps
    • Renewable Energy Market Size and Growth
      • Table Growth rates and installed capacities by type of renewable energy, 1990 - 2010
      • PV vs. CSP
  • Global, Regional, and National CSP Markets
    • The Global Marketplace
    • Global Market status and forecast
    • Regional Development
      • CSP Global Market Initiative (CSP- GMI)
      • International Energy Agency (IEA) SolarPACES
    • Middle East-North Africa (MENA)
      • Climate Investment Funds
        • Table Planned project support by the CSP MENA IP
      • Desertec Industrial Initiative
        • Table Desertec Supporting Organizations43
    • European Union
      • European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE)
        • Table EASE Founding Members45
      • Southwest United States-Mexico (USMEX)
        • Table CTF Clean Technology Fund Investment Plan for Mexico
      • Barriers to cross-border electricity export.
    • National Markets
      • Table Forecast of National Markets Installed CSP Capacity, GW, 2012-2016, 2021
      • Algeria
      • Algerian solar resources
      • Algerian development efforts through 2011
      • Algerian installed and planned capacities
      • Algerian-specific issues
      • Algerian CSP market forecast 2012 - 2021
      • Australia
      • Electricity Market Mechanism and Distribution System
      • Australia's solar resources
      • Developments in Solar Energy Research
      • Australian Public Opinion
      • Australian CSP market forecast 2012 - 2021
      • Brazil
      • Brazilian solar resources
      • Brazilian CSP market forecast 2012-2021
      • China
      • Chinese development activities to date
      • Chinese CSP market forecast 2012 - 2021
      • Egypt
      • Egyptian development activities to date
      • Egyptian solar resources
      • Egyptian installed and planned capacities
      • Greece
      • Grecian-specific issues
      • Grecian development activities to date
      • Grecian CSP market forecast 2012 - 2016
      • India
      • Indian development activities to date
        • Table Successful CSP proposal for Phase I of the NVVM Solar Project
      • Indian solar resources
      • Indian CSP market forecast 2012 - 2016
      • Israel
      • Israeli development issues
      • israeli solar resources
      • Israeli CSP market forecast 2012 - 2021
      • Jordan
      • Jordanian energy issues
      • Jordanian CSP market forecast 2012 - 2016
      • Mexico
      • Mexican CSP market forecast 2012 - 2016
      • Morocco
      • Moroccan installed and planned capacities
      • Moroccan-specific issues
      • Moroccan CSP market forecast 2012 - 2021
      • Spain
      • Spanish development activities to date
      • Spanish installed and planned capacities
        • Table Spanish installed capacities through 2011
      • Spanish-specific issues
      • Spanish CSP market 2007-2011
      • Spanish CSP market forecast 2012 - 2021
      • Tunisia
      • Tunisian development activities to date
      • Tunisian-specific issues
      • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
      • UAE development activities to date
      • UAE solar resources
      • UAE CSP market forecast 2012 - 2021
      • United States
      • Notes on other countries of interest
      • Italy
      • Saudi Arabia
      • South Africa
  • CSP Components Markets
    • Components
    • Basis of Forecasts
      • Table Previous studies and assessments of CSP costs
      • SBI Energy Forecasts
    • Cost analysis of a CSP plant
    • The Solar Field
    • Parabolic Trough
      • Table Parabolic Troughs current prices, $ (€)/ sq meter aperture area
      • Table Allocation of Technologies for New CSP Installations
    • Central Receiving Station Technology
      • Table Central Receiving current prices
    • CSP Power Block Forecasts
      • Plant Size
      • Turbine Options
      • Turbine Costs
        • Table Forecast power block volume, by nameplate capacity 2012-2021
      • Cooling
        • Table Water Use by CSP type and Cooling mechanism8
      • Comparison of Dry Cooling to Hybrid cooling
        • Table Comparison of the impact of hybrid vs dry cooling options
      • US and Global CSP Cooling Market Forecast 2012 - 2021
        • Table Current costs of cooling systems, $USD Millions:11
        • Table Allocation of cooling type by nation:12
      • Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Systems
      • Materials of Construction
        • Table Table: Material of Construction of two reference plants
  • Market Drivers and Trends
    • Access to oil
      • Consequences of Fukushima's meltdown
    • General environmental movement
    • Pending environmental legislation
    • Global economic environment
    • CSP Market Trends
    • Investment Climate
    • Status of PV versus CPS
    • Cost of Component and Plant Drivers
      • Other Energy Sources
  • Competitive Profiles
    • Developer
    • Engineering-procurement-construction
      • Engineering
      • Procurement
      • Construction
    • Component Suppliers
    • Developer Company Profiles
      • Abengoa SA
        • Table Sales of Abengoa by source
      • ACCIONA Energy
        • Table ACCIONA Energy's CSP Plants
        • Table BrightSource Projects in Queue
      • Nur Energie
      • Solar Millennium
      • solarhybrid ag
      • Torresol Energy
        • Table California Energy Commission listing of CSP applications, updated 24 Oct 2011
        • Table Nevada State Office of Energy listing of CSP applications,
    • Mirrors/Receivers/Engines
      • Flabeg
      • Rioglass Solar
      • Schott Solar
      • Infinia Corporation
    • Turbines
      • Siemens
    • Controls
      • ABB Controls
        • Table ABB experience in CSP
  • End Users
    • The Utility Industry
      • Table Types of Utilities in the US
    • The CSP Customer: the Utility
    • Pricing the CSP product
    • The Utilities perspective
    • The CSP Customer: the Citizen
  • Appendix
    • Table Acronyms
    • Energy Units
      • Table Watts
      • Table US Average Capacity Factor by Energy Source, 2009
    • Industry contacts

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