Spain and the US shine the brightest in the concentrated solar thermal power market. Solar thermal power projects in the pipeline mean the global Concentrated Solar Power market is expected to grow from a 2011 installed capacity total of 1,546MW to 47,462.9MW in 2020, climbing at a Compound Annual Interest Rate (CAGR) of 44%.
An increase in the cost of fossil fuels and supporting government policies (as well as enviable weather) has seen Spain and the United States dominate the global solar thermal market, explains a new report by renewable energy experts GBI Research.
According to the intelligence firm’s latest research, in 2011 Spain was the primary stakeholder in the global concentrated solar power (CSP) market with a massive 65% of the total installed capacity, with the US coming in second at 33%.
Spain only entered the CSP market in 2007, with the construction of the 11 Megawatt (MW) capacity PS10 solar tower. Since then the country has raced ahead of the pack and in 2011 boasted a total installed CSP capacity of 1,002.2 MW – the largest amount in the world by a significant margin.
The obvious advantage of abundant sunshine combined with impressive government support has seen CSP boom in Spain. In 2005 the country’s government enacted an ambitious plan for its renewable sector, the Renewable Energy Plan (PER). This plan outlined particular attention to the solar power industry, and as the Spanish government has declared a commitment to adhere to the European Union 2020 agenda on emissions and renewable energy shares, the Spanish solar thermal sector is expected to have a strong future.
The US set up its first solar thermal plant in 1985 and so became to the first country to produce solar thermal electricity with commercial viability. Growth has been relatively modest since this pioneering effort, but GBI Research predicts that, with redoubled commitment, the country’s CSP market will increase from 508.5 MW in installed capacity in 2011 to 25,815 MW by 2020, climbing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 63%.
This huge predicted increase is the result of US plans to commission numerous major CSP plants throughout the next decade, including the La Posa Solar Thermal plant and the Ranegras plant – both based in Arizona.