Concentrated Solar Power With Thermal Energy Storage Can Help Utilities

by Staff Writers
Boulder CO (SPX) Jan 10, 2013

The storage capacity of concentrating solar power (CSP) can add significant value to a utility company’s optimal mix of energy sources, a new report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suggests.

The report found that CSP with a six-hour storage capacity can lower peak net loads when the sun isn’t shining, enough to add $35.80 per megawatt hour to the capacity and operational value of the utility, compared to photovoltaic (PV) solar power alone, and even higher extra value when compared to CSP without storage. The net load is the normal load minus variable renewables such as photovoltaic and wind.

The additional value comes because thermal storage allows CSP to displace more expensive gas-fired generation during peak loads, rather than displacing lower-priced coal; and because it can continue to flatten the peak load in the evenings when PV isn’t contributing to the mix because the sun has set.

Read more: Concentrated Solar Power With Thermal Energy Storage Can Help Utilities — Solar Daily.

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