Spain and the United States are leading the world in Concentrated Solar Power installations, according to a report from British energy intelligence firm GBI.
Spain, with more than 1,000 megawatts of installed CSP, has 65 percent of the world’s CSP capacity. The US has about a third. The next country in the lineup is Algeria with just 2 percent of the world’s share of CSP.
But CSP technology is still growing globally.
GBI lead power analyst Ruchi Chaturvedi writes in an email that countries like Algeria, along with Australia, China, Egypt, Morrocco, Israel, Iran and the United Arab Emirates are working on building their CSP capacity now and that he expects global CSP capacity to reach 2.5 gigawatts with projects that are already underway.
The technology should reach more than 47,000 megawatts of installed capacity by 2020, he said. But for now, the gaps between country’s adopting the technology and those that are slower to pick it up are wide.
There are several reasons for the disparity between nations, Chaturvedi said. The first and one of the largest reasons for the disparity is the environment. Spain and the Southwest United States are particularly well-suited environments for CSP technology with plenty of solar resources.
But some of the other nations beginning to pursue CSP also have good conditions for it. So, there is one more big reason for US and Spanish dominance in the CSP market. “Strong government support through financial incentives has driven market growth in these nations,” he writes in an email interview with CleanEnergyAuthority.
Spain’s feed-in-tariff has spurred CSP growth along with growth in the traditional solar photovoltaics market. “The US and Spanish governments are encouraging investors through the offer of loans and grants to establish a plant,” Chaturvedi writes. The US has both Federal and state incentives for renewable energy projects that range from tax incentives to government loans, loan-guarantees and grants.
The funding does not generally favor CSP over other solar technologies, Chaturvedi said. But CSP has proven to be the most efficient and highest capacity option for certain large-scale projects. He said sterling dish technology is pulling out in front of solar trough and solar tower CSP models because it’s more cost-efficient and comes closer to grid-parity.