The newly released 4th Edition of the Solar Thermal Report from ABS Energy Research states that despite the global downturn, the Concentrating Solar Power Market (CSP) is heating up.
“Despite the economic downturn, 2009 was the year for Concentrated Solar Power, with the MENA region making significant plans to invest and the UAE now building a 100 MW plant.
Overall plants are getting bigger and utilities are starting to take an interest, as prices are dropping. Once the domain of parabolic trough technology, solar towers are starting to make inroads into the sector, with the US investing heavily into R&D on towers.
As well as solar towers, solar thermal storage is a major area of Concentrating Solar Power research, with more and more planned projects in the US having storage capacity. Molten salt is likely to remain the dominant technology due to its low cost. With all of this activity, 2009 may well be seen as a milestone in the industry’s history,” says Max Krangle, Managing Director of ABS Energy Research
At the end of 2009 the world wide installed capacity of Concentrated Solar Power plants was an estimated at just over 1,000 MW, depending on the actual completion of plants under construction and is expected to reach 4.5 GW by the end of 2011 and 7 GW in 2012. ABS forecasts 25 GW by 2020. For 2011, major markets for Concentrated Solar Power will continue to be the USA and Spain, along with MENA countries, India, China and for the first time, Australia.
Big players are starting to enter the Concentrating Solar Power sector with Areva’s acquisition of Ausra, a parabolic trough manufacturer, and Siemen’s acquisition of Solel Solar Systems and Archimede.
Perhaps this is partially due to increased interested in the Desertec plan to connect the grid systems of North Africa and Southern Europe, and invest in renewable energy projects in the region. As part of the plan CSP plants in North Africa would supply cheap electricity to Southern Europe, due to their lower capital costs. Major Banks and manufacturing companies became members of Desertec this and last year, including Siemens and Deutsche Bank.