Solar Thermal Power

 Published On: Feb, 2011 |    No of Pages: 153 |  Published By: Energy Business Reports | Format: PDF
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This report on Solar Thermal Energy analyzes the technology, discusses solar thermal plants financing, discusses hybrid solar thermal power plants, and provides profiles of solar thermal companies and case studies. A diagrammatic representation of the value chain and suppliers in the solar thermal industry is included, explaining the solar thermal power process in detail.

This report also analyzes the advantages and challenges facing the solar thermal industry.

Solar thermal power plants are forecast to undergo a real boom in the coming years and decades. The sunny regions of Asia, the USA, and North Africa provide an almost inexhaustible space potential. Experts have long agreed that solar thermal technology will enable the replacement of conventional, fossil fuelled, or nuclear power plants in the long term. Recent studies by Greenpeace and A.T. Kearney confirm the increasing competitiveness.

Solar-thermal electricity (STE) is competitive. Within the next ten years, there will be an opportunity to generate this economically and free of subsidies. In doing so, it will compete with fossil fuels. Moreover, STE represents an increasingly more attractive addition to the renewable energy portfolio, of which it has a relevant share. The thermal solar capacity installed worldwide will ideally reach 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2025. This could create up to 130,000 jobs.

International studies have also announced the continuous rise of solar-thermal power plants. The cost of generating STE electricity can be reduced by up to 30 percent by 2015 and even by more than 50 percent by 2025. As such, solar-thermal electricity can contribute significantly to reaching certain energy and environmental targets, for example the EU's 20-20-20 goal.

Table of Contents :

Executive Summary 7

What is Solar Thermal Energy? 8
Introduction 8
History of the Industry 8
Market Overview 11
How a Solar Thermal Power Plant Works 11
Different Types of Solar Thermal Collectors 14
Low Temperature Collectors 14
Medium Temperature Collectors 17
High Temperature Collectors 18
System Designs 19
Parabolic Trough 19
Solar Power Tower 22
Parabolic Solar Dish 26
Fresnel Reflectors 28
Linear Fresnel Reflector Technologies 30
Fresnel Lenses 31
MicroCSP 31
CLFR Power Plant 32
Role of Heat Exchange in Solar Thermal 33
Role of Heat Storage 34
Steam Accumulator 34
Molten Salt Storage 34
Graphite Heat Storage 35
Phase Change Materials 35
Usage of Water in Solar Thermal 36
Solar Resource and Land Usage 37
Converting Solar Energy to Electrical Energy 40

Solar Thermal Value Chain and Suppliers 41

Benefits of Concentrating Solar Power 42
Overview 42
Environmental Sustainability 42
Economic Sustainability 42

Hybrid Solar Thermal Power Plants 44

Advantages of Solar Thermal Power 45

Challenges to Commercializing Solar Thermal Power 48
Solid Financing through Long‐term Power Purchasing Guarantees 48
Power Grids 48
No Limit on Power Plant Size in Laws Regarding the Supply of Energy to the Grid 49
Regulations Regarding Power from Renewable Energies 49
End Tax Disadvantages 50
Technology Quota 50

Technical Challenges Facing the Industry 51

Research and Development 53

Economics of Solar Thermal 54
Levelized Cost Overview 54
Impact of Solar Thermal on Emissions, Economies, and Employment 56

Financing Solar Thermal Power Plants 61
Overview 61
General Sources of Capital 62
Types of Financing and Ownership Structure 63
Cash Flow Related Lending 64
Risk Sharing 64
Off Balance Sheet Financing 64

Reliability of Solar Thermal Plants 66

Solar Thermal versus Photovoltaics 68

Solar Thermal versus Fossil Fuels 69

Requirement for Large Areas of Land 71

Industry Forecast 72

Case Study: Solar Thermal Power in Mojave Desert 75
Overview 75
Solar One and Solar Two 78
Solar Energy Generating Systems 79
Nevada Solar One 79
Copper Mountain Solar Facility 80
Nellis Solar Power Plant 80
Sierra SunTower 81
Ivanpah Solar Power Facility 81
Mojave Solar Park 81
AV Solar Ranch One 81
Social and Economic Impact of the Mojave Desert Solar Thermal Plants 82
Impact on Desert Soil Ecosystems 82
Impact of Solar Thermal Power Plants on the Mojave Desert 83
Carbon Loss 84
Loss of Future Carbon Sequestration 85
Other Potential Impacts 85

Major Solar Thermal Power Plants 87
Alvarado I 87
Andasol Solar Power Station 88
Archimede Solar Power Plant 90
Extresol Solar Power Station 91
Ivanpah Solar Power Facility 91
Kimberlina Solar Thermal Energy Plant 93
Liddell Power Station 94
Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center 95
Nevada Solar One 95
PS10 Solar Power Plant 97
PS20 Solar Power Plant 99
Shiraz Solar Power Plant 101
Sierra SunTower 101
Solar Energy Generating Systems 104
Solnova Solar Power Station 106
Themis Solar Power Plant 107
Valle Solar Power Station 107
Yazd Integrated Solar Combined Cycle Power Station 108

Major Players 109
Abengoa 109
Acciona Energy 111
Ausra/ AREVA Solar 112
eSolar 114
Sierra SunTower 115
BrightSource Energy 117
Solel Solar Systems 119
Solar Millennium 120
Sunrgi 121

Appendix 122

Glossary 127

About the Publisher 152

Figures and Tables

Figure 1: Parabolic Trough 21
Figure 2: Concentrating Solar Power System 21
Figure 3: Solar Two 25
Figure 4: eSolar's 5MW Sierra SunTower Facility 25
Figure 5: Parabolic Solar Dish Concentrating the Sun's Rays on the Heating Element of a Stirling Engine 27
Figure 6: CLFR Power Plant 32
Figure 7: Solar Resource in the US 37
Figure 8: Solar Resource in Europe and Northern Africa 38
Figure 9: Solar Resource in China 39
Figure 10: Power Plant Size: Lowest Costs at 200 MW 49
Figure 11: Development Potential for Renewable Energies 50
Figure 12: Annual Electricity Sales by Sector (Billion Kilowatt Hours) 56
Figure 13: Business as Usual Scenario for Power Generation 57
Figure 14: Seasonal Correlation of Solar Thermal and CA Grid Demands 58
Figure 15: Ausra Line Focus Demonstration in Australia 70
Figure 16: The Solar Two Project in California Uses a Field of Mirrors to Focus Solar Energy onto a Central Boiler to Produce Steam & Electricity 70
Figure 17: Future Opportunities for Solar Thermal Power Plant Technology 74
Figure 18: Single Tower Solar Thermal Plant Structure 76
Figure 19: Andasol Solar Power Station 89
Figure 20: PS10 Power Plant 98
Figure 21: PS10 Solar Power Plant in the Foreground, with the PS20 in the Background 100
Figure 22: Array of Heliostats 103
Figure 23: Portions of Four of the Five SEGS III through VII Plants Located at Kramer Junction 105
Figure 24: First Three Units of Solnova Two Towers in the Background are the PS10 and PS20 Solar Power Stations 106
Figure 25: First Commercial Concentrating PS10 Solar Power Tower Operating near the City of Seville 122
Figure 26: Solar Thermal vs Solar PV 123
Figure 27: Solar Thermal Technologies 124
Figure 28: Investment in Solar Technologies 124
Figure 29: Future Solar Thermal Project by Technology 125


Table 1: Energy Cost/Delivery via Current CLFR Solar Array Technology 59
Table 2: Features of Solar Thermal Power Systems 125
Table 3: CSP Components and Raw Materials 126

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