What are the Pros and Cons of Longer Solar Contracts?

The first-ever 35-year solar power contract – ACWA Power’s with DEWA in Dubai – had a record-low price, for CSP+storage of just 7.3 cents per kWh. Did a longer contract enable the record low price? Read More …

Artificial Vision Enables Solar Field Calibration Overnight

Researchers have developed a prototype for calibrating an entire solar field in a single night, shaving months off the current calibration system for large size Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) tower plants. In tower CSP, an encircling solar field of thousands of heliostats (specialized mirrors) must continuously and precisely reflect concentrated beams from always-moving sunlight onto […]

A Blueprint for 100% Solar Desalination

Freshwater shortages are projected to increase in our hotter and more crowded future. Already,150 countries desalinate seawater, using fossil fuels. But supplying an ever-increasing basic need with non-renewable fuels creates a growing threat, according to Dr. Diego-César Alarcón-Padilla, who heads the Solar Desalination Unit at Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA) and is Operating Agent of Task […]

Eastern Morocco’s Concentrated Solar Power Potential Assessed

A new paper published at Solar Energy investigates Eastern Morocco’s suitability to host Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) in a multilayered assessment. Dr. Ahmed Alami Merrouni, who heads up research on Meteorology and Solar Materials Degradation at Institut de Recherche en Energie Solaire et Energies Nouvelles (IRESEN), and his team determined which parts of Eastern Morocco […]

Path to a Booming Australian Solar Thermal Energy Market

Industry response suggests an Australian concentrated solar thermal market would be well subscribed A report out from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) this month published responses from industry stakeholders on the viability of a concentrated solar thermal (CST) energy market in Australia: Paving the way for concentrated solar thermal in Australia. Only 5 gigawatts […]

Morocco’s Noor III Solar Tower CSP to Deliver Power by October

Noor III, at 150 MW, the world’s second utility-scale Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) tower with molten salt storage, will deliver power to Morocco’s electricity grid by October, if not sooner. “Noor III receiver installation on tower has been finalized already, so we are ready to continue the commissioning of the plant with the solar field […]

Scientists Test World’s First Solar Fuels Reactor for Night

International solar thermal energy researchers have successfully tested CONTISOL, a solar reactor that runs on air, able to make any solar fuel like hydrogen and to run day or night – because it uses concentrated solar power (CSP) and includes thermal energy storage. The promise of solar fuels is that we could have zero carbon […]

Solar Heat to Make Power + Water for Namibia: Study

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is suited to regions with good solar resource. CSP+desalination can simultaneously solve related water scarcity. Seawater desalination can be integrated into a solar thermal energy plant using a variety of desalination technologies. Is solar-driven multi-effect distillation a financially feasible solution for water-stressed Namibia? A research study from Stellenbosch University finds that a […]

Particle Receivers to Get First Commercial Trial – in Saudi Arabia

A new solar technology is twice as efficient, cutting the cost of solar thermal energy, by raising operating temperatures to 1,000°C, almost twice the 565°C molten salt temperature in current concentrated solar power (CSP) tower plants. For most innovative research in clean energy, the dreaded “Valley of Death” after lab scale success is the sad […]

CSP is the Most Efficient Renewable to Split Water for Hydrogen

Thermochemical solar leverages heat from concentrated solar power (CSP) for chemical reactions. Research into thermochemical solar reactors to split water to hydrogen is a priority in top national laboratories internationally. (See SolarPACES Research Task II: Solar Chemistry Research). What part will thermal solar play in a future hydrogen economy? For an overview, we checked with a […]

How Has Spain’s Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Performed?

As prices for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) with thermal energy storage dropped an astonishing 50% between May and November this year, it seemed that 2017 saw the kind of price breakthrough that could allow CSP to compete with traditional thermal power in supplying dispatchable electricity. CSP is the heat-based form of solar, which generates power […]

Desert Solar to Fuel Centuries of Air Travel

Thermochemical solar fuel manufacturing would be an energy industry with a life of centuries, rather than decades. The feedstock of sunlight, carbon dioxide and water is essentially unlimited. Scientists with the SOLAR-JET Project have demonstrated the first-ever entire process to make kerosene, the jet fuel used by commercial airlines, using a high-temperature thermal solar reactor […]

US DOE: CSP Could Provide Needed Flexibility and Reliability to Grid

BY AVI SHULTZ Dr. Avi Shultz is the acting program manager for the United States Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) team, which supports research, development, and demonstration of solar thermal components and systems that can enable wide-spread deployment of low-cost CSP with thermal energy storage. Every day our power needs […]

Scientist Devises a Solar Reactor to Make Water and Oxygen from Moon Rocks

An aerospace engineer has built a machine to make water and oxygen from the lunar regolith, powered by solar energy. Thorsten Denk’s paper Design and Test of a Concentrated Solar Powered Fluidized Bed Reactor for Ilmenite Reduction was presented at the 23rd Annual SolarPACES Conference in Chile. (Thorsten Denk – Presentation (pdf) Working over a ten year […]

How Solar Peaker Plants Could Replace Gas Peakers

Solar can be designed to run only after dark at a competitive price with a current natural gas peaker plant. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) can be a night-only dispatchable (D-CSP) plant; with its entire solar energy absorbed by day to be delivered after dark to cover the evening peak load on the grid, according to a study funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Read More …

Sandia Labs R&D Helped SolarReserve hit 6 Cents CSP

Research was key to the low price record of 6 cents for dispatchable solar thermal energy at Port Augusta: SolarReserve According to Kevin Smith, the CEO of California-based SolarReserve; the company that is first to sell CSP at 6 cents/kWh, the record-low CSP price was largely due to their receiver and heliostat research. The 150 MW […]

US DOE Funds Terrafore’s Phase Change Energy Storage Test

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released funding to the Argonne National Laboratory for a scaled-up round of independent testing of Terrafore Technologies’ innovative encapsulated thermal energy storage in phase change salts, designed to operate in temperatures to greater than 800°C in a single tank that acts as both storage and heat exchanger.

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How Port Augusta Got the World’s Cheapest Solar Thermal Power

Most coverage of SolarReserve’s 150 MW Aurora solar thermal power plant in Port Augusta completely overlooked its biggest news: the South Australian Government just bought the world’s cheapest solar thermal energy. Just 6 cents per kilowatt hour. SolarReserve will sell solar thermal energy to the South Australian Government at $75 (AUD) with a guaranteed cap […]

CSP to be Essential by 2050 …for Germany?

Given Germany’s lack of desert sun, it might seem improbable that thermal solar would be a key component of its low-carbon grid planning under its Energiewende (energy transition). But several papers published in 2016 found that concentrated solar power (CSP) will be essential. Read More …

Why Chile Could Lead the World in CSP

With annual solar radiation at 3,500kWh per square meter, akin to what you see in outer space, it is no surprise that Chile is a world leader in solar energy production. The nation is also in a position to lead the world in CSP Read More …

Solar EOR a Big Win for GlassPoint

Unlike other CSP developers who leverage the heat of the sun as the “fuel” for a power block that then generates electricity to the grid; GlassPoint’s enclosed troughs are simply employed in the direct production of steam, focusing on what the company sees as an ignored market for heat. Read More …

SolarPACES to Optimize Chile’s Clean Energy Grid

Chile will be next to benefit from an analysis; developed in Germany, of optimal clean energy grid options A new computational tool will be used by international researchers at SolarPACES to calculate the best technology mix of generation resources to most cost-effectively cover Chile’s load curve. The modeling tool was initially developed at Aachen University, […]