J. Phys. IV France 09 (1999) Pr3-17-Pr3-22
Solar thermal electricity in 1998 : An IEA/solarPACES summary of status and future prospectsC.E. Tyner1, G.J. Kolb1, W. Meinecke2 and F. Trieb3
1 Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-0703, U.S.A.
2 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, German Aerospace Center (DLR), 51170 Köln, Germany
3 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, German Aerospace Center (DLR), P.O. Box 80 03 20, 70503 Stuttgart, Germany
Research and development activities sponsored by countries within the International Energy Agency's solar thermal working group, SolarPACES (Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems), have helped reduce the cost of solar thermal systems to one-fifth that of the early pilot plants. Continued technological improvements are currently being proven in next-generation demonstration plants. These advances, along with cost reductions made possible by scale-up to larger mass-production rates and construction of a succession of power plants, have made solar thermal systems the lowest-cost solar energy in the world and promise cost-competitiveness with fossil-fuel plants in the future. Solar thermal technologies are appropriate for a wide range of applications, including dispatchable central-station power plants where they can meet peak-load to near-base-load needs of a utility, and distributed, modular power plants for both remote and grid-connected applications. In this paper, we present the collective position of the SolarPACES community on solar thermal electricity-generating technology. We discuss the current status of the technology and likely near-term improvements ; the needs of target markets ; and important technical and financial issues that must be resolved for success in near-term global markets.
© EDP Sciences 1999