Solarthermal and photovoltaic power plants: a comparison

How will the market for photovoltaic and solar thermal power plants develop in coming decades? A study under the leadership of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has analysed the development of these power plants up until 2030.

In effect, it would appear that based on present-day conditions especially the combination of CSP and PV costs less in most scenarios than using only one of the two technologies. In doing so, the photovoltaic part of the power plant preferably feeds electricity directly into the grid during the day, while the solar thermal part stores solar energy in thermal storage units in order to convert it when needed, i.e. usually at night.

When there is a great need for electricity during night-time hours, CSP-based power plants offer an advantage thanks to their thermal storage units. At the same time, hybrid operations can be integrated with fossil or alternate energy carriers relatively easily at only marginal additional costs.

The complete study is to be published before the end of 2016.

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