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R&D plays a key role to decrease LCOE

Renewable energies have suffered huge changes in recent years, increasing their competitiveness with fossil fuels in both prices and efficiency.

The cost of PV has fallen by 70% in the last 12 years, whilst wind has dropped to 60% in less than 30 years. CSP has a long way to develop and room for improvement, the learning curve is shorter compared to other energies but both experience and research are cutting these differences considerably.

With regulatory changes in recent months, it becomes even more important to optimize thermal plants, trying to reduce costs during the whole life cycle of the plant. Achieve low LCOE is key, as it’s one of the main criteria to win international tenders.

A breakdown of the factors included in the LCOE show that O&M costs account for 20% whilst insurance is around 5%. All other factors are related to the development and construction of the plant, reaching 75% of LCOE. Among these factors, the solar field is in first place with nearly a quarter of the total cost.

When it comes to lowering energy costs for CSP plants, we have two main factors: on one side we find new technology developments with new materials, more efficient cycles and cheaper storage solutions. Eduardo Zarza, head of solar concentrating systems at Ciemat-PSA, recently said to CSP Today that Direct Steam Generation could reduce energy costs by 10%.

On the other hand, we find technology development as the number of manufacturers increase and the lessons learned are implemented. Juan Ignacio Burgaleta, Technology Director at Torresol told CSP Today that the improvements they have experienced at Gemasolar after two years of operation are very notable and all this will keep driving down energy costs. 

This in addition to other issues will be discussed at the CSP Today Enhanced Plant Engineering 2013 conference (12-13 November, Seville).

To find more information about the event please visit:

About CSP Today

CSP Today is the reference point for CSP professionals and a cornerstone for communications within the industry. We provide business intelligence to the industry with focused news, events, reports, updates and information for the Concentrated Solar Thermal Power industry in markets such as India, South Africa, Spain, USA, Chile and the MENA region. For more information visit


Brandon Páramo

CSP Today

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last update
18 September 2015

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