The history of concentrating solar power (CSP) is characterized by a boom-bust pattern caused by policy support changes. Following the 2014–2016 bust phase, the combination of Chinese support and several low-cost projects triggered a new boom phase. We investigate the near- to mid-term cost, industry, market and policy outlook for the global CSP sector and show that CSP costs have decreased strongly and approach cost-competitiveness with new conventional generation. Industry has been strengthened through the entry of numerous new companies. However, the project pipeline is thin: no project broke ground in 2019 and only four projects are under construction in 2020. The only remaining large support scheme, in China, has been canceled. Without additional support soon creating a new market, the value chain may collapse and recent cost and technological advances may be undone. If policy support is renewed, however, the global CSP sector is prepared for a bright future.
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- Academic Articles
Lilliestam, J., Ollier, L. L., Labordena, M., Pfenninger, S., & Thonig, R. (2021). The near- to mid-term outlook for concentrating solar power. Mostly cloudy, chance of sun. Energy sources, Part B: Economics, planning and policy, 16(1), 23-41. doi:10.1080/15567249.2020.1773580.
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- Projects involved
- Market uptake of solar thermal electricity through cooperation (MUSTEC)