Solar Thermal Technology is facing an existential threat as plunging solar panel prices have made other solar technologies fight for their future.
A number of Solar Thermal Companies closed down in 2011, and many of the CSP Power Plants have now been converted into PV panel projects. This is because the costs of building a solar panel power plant is less than half that of a solar thermal plant. You can read the advantages and disadvantages of solar thermal here.
However Solar Thermal Technology is finding a niche in Hybrid Fossil Fuel Power Plants. Here's why. . .
- They can use the existing electricity and transmission Iifrastructure of new or existing fossil fuel power plants.
- Solar thermal technology in most cases generates steam which can be used by the turbines in a fossil fuel plants, thereby saving additional operational costs.
- They help utilties meet RPS standards or generate Green Certificates which can generate additional revenue.
- Provides "green" credibility for power plant operators.
- Hybrid plants don’t have to face the problems of intermittency, but can still provide cheaper power production during peak demand.