Development Trends and Economics of Innovative Solar Power Generation Technologies: A Comparative Analysis
FCN Working Paper No. 1/2009
38 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2013
Date Written: November 2009
In this paper we compare development trends, economics and financial risks of alternative large-scale solar power generation technologies (parabolic trough, solar tower, and three different photovoltaic technologies). In particular, a number of European countries, Algeria and the US promote solar power generation. In oure study, we investigate the economic viability of the solar trough projects Andasol-I (Spain), Nevada Solar One (US), the solar tower projects PS-10 and Solar Tres (Spain), and the three PV projects Solarpark Waldpolenz (Germany), Parque Solar Beneixama (Spain) and Nellis Solar Power Plant (US). To this end, we employ a battery of economic indicators, such as net present value (NPV), return on investment (ROI), alternative discount rate (ADR), and amortization time (Ta), and also perform a detailed sensitivity analysis. We find that, in the absence of subsidization, current solar technologies cannot compete with conventional power plant technologies. Overall, we conclude that for realizing the Europe-Middle East-North Africa (EUMENA) Mediterranean ring connection, more research and development is needed on solar power generation technologies for making them sufficiently attractive on economic grounds.
Keywords: Concentrating solar power, CSP, profitability
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