Solar thermodynamic: really high costs?

For solar thermodynamic we mean a system that uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight on receivers that collect it and transfer it to a heat transfer fluid in the form of heat. The heat produced can be used directly or transformed into electricity through conventional steam turbines or ORC - Organic Rankine Cycle systems.

One plant solar thermodynamic in fact it functions as a thermoelectric power station in which solar energy performs the function of fossil fuel. It follows that the solar thermodicamic it is not well usable at a domestic level (not at the moment at least) but rather lends itself to large installations. This is true and is testified by the plants of solar thermodynamicin Italy (Sicily, Sardinia, Basilicata, Lombardy) which are all designed on a 'one to many' energy distribution model.

Less true is the belief that solar thermodynamic are too expensive and will remain so in the future. In fact, as the ANEST association strives to make knownthermodynamic solar energy, the implants solar thermodynamics they are more capital-intensive and therefore more expensive than those using fossil fuels, but once connected to the grid the operating costs are lower for a logical reason: the sun is free.

In addition, type implants solar thermodynamic they have the peculiarity of being able to be equipped with energy storage systems, normally allowing operation for a greater number of hours during the year and thus increasing the amount of energy produced with the same installed power. Compared to other renewable sources that suffer from the problem of intermittency, and therefore require backup systems to ensure a stable supply of energy, thermodynamic solar systems are already the right alternative today.

Beginning in 2007, the segment of solar thermodynamic it has reduced costs by around 50% despite having only 3 GW of installed worldwide. Compared at the same date with the situation of wind power (300 GW) and photovoltaics (100 GW), it is reasonable to assume a further strong potential for cost reduction in the coming years for solar thermodynamic.

In 2014, the price of electricity produced by the plants solar thermodynamic it is estimated from a minimum of 20 to a maximum of 30 euro cents / kWh, depending on the level of irradiation, the size and the technology used. It is not cheap in fact. However, prices are set to decrease steadily over the next few years as a result of technological development. The hypothesized settlement is around 10 cEuro / kWh.

If you liked this article and are interested in the topic, you may also like to read our other article: Solar Thermodynamic: how it works

Video: UK Solar PV, battery, Octopus Agile update - all working well to reduce energy costs (January 2022).