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Economic potential to develop concentrated solar power in China: A provincial assessment

2019.08.06     From:

Analyze the current feasibility and future potential of concentrated solar power (CSP) development in China.


Evaluate the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of different CSP technologies for 31 provincial devisions in China. Calculate the provincial LCOE by considering local policies and metrological conditions. Propose some policy recommendations on developing CSP projects in China.



Concentrating solar power (CSP), a promising renewable energy technology, requires better policy support for its initial implementation, which, in turn, necessitates accurate forecasting of its economic potential. This study develops a model based on meteorological data and local policies to calculate the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) in 31 provincial-level divisions in China.


Based on land occupation, concessionary loan, and technology mode as the independent variables, the LCOE is estimated to be $142/MWh to $781/MWh in sites with direct normal irradiance above 1,800 kWh/m2/yr under current local policies and conditions (with and without thermal storage).


Thus, this study lays a solid foundation for forecasting power generation and selecting economically feasible sites. It analyzes the CSP learning curve with respect to technologically advanced trends and scale expansion. With the proper optimization of the technology mode, it is reasonable to expect a significant LCOE reduction and grid parity in certain areas. A comparison of the current policies provides a reference for the Chinese government to formulate subsidy policies that would make CSP more competitive.


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