Assessing the Cost Competitiveness of Solar-Generated Steam

April 03, 2015 | State of the Market Report

Even with low natural gas and oil prices in many markets around the world, operations seeking to reduce operational expenses or conserve fuel may find that industrial-scale concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies can generate low-cost steam. In this report, we explore the current CSP technologies that companies could utilize in steam generation applications byconsidering geography and calculating a levelized cost of steam (LCOS). We find that parabolic tough technologies lead the pack now and in the future, ultimately reaching $5/ MMBtu in 2020, competitive with conventional fossil fuel boilers.

Coverage Areas

  • Next Generation Power
  • Owning the Energy Transition

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Landscape
    Mature parabolic trough technologies are viable for majority of solar steam generation, but other system architectures more suitable for some niche applications.
  • Analysis
    Cost reductions to system components drive a 20% decrease in levelized cost of solar-generated steam by 2020.
  • Outlook


Matthew Feinstein
Kevin See, Ph.D.

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