Signs of weakness in the U.S. market
Examining the critical market shifts in the last few months, one fundamental change occurred when the Loan Guarantee programme finished, since the sector was not able to reduce cost quite as rapidly as photovoltaic. The programme had a significant upside impact on the US Concentrating Solar Power market with a total of 5 projects, accounting for 1312 MW, benefiting from this initiative.
The first victim was Solar Millennium. Solar Millennium was granted with a conditional commitment of a US$ 2.1 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop 500 MW CSP at the Blythe location in California. However, the loan guarantees were offered under the proviso that Solar Millennium managed to provide the required commercial financing within a few months.
Solar Millennium claimed that the due date given to them by the DOE, being up to the month of August, was too short to realize the financial closure for the project. As a consequence of the shift to PV, Solar Millennium have lost the right to the US$ 2.1 billion loan guarantee.
Spain: still in the lead
Meanwhile, Spain has seen four new Concentrating Solar Power plants come online during the last semester, adding 170 MW of solar energy to the Spanish grid and keeping the country as the CSP leader by installed capacity with 1 GW of CSP plants in operation: Palma del Río I, Gemasolar, Helioenergy I y Andasol 3. Gemasolar stands out with its 15 hours of storage, allowing the plant to operate continuously for 24 hours and highlighting the potential of CSP as a base load technology in the near future.
The CSP Markets Report also tackles the developments in the emerging markets such as Morocco, India and South Africa. To find out more about this report and its content, download the Selected Findings with more data that has been extracted from the report itself here: www.csptoday.com/csp-markets-report/preview.shtml