Solar Thermal Technology has been facing tough competition from its sister Solar PV Technology in recent times.Despite strong government subsidies and support,numerous drawbacks have contributed to this Technology losing out to Solar PV in a number of projects in the US notably by Tessera.However a number of startups and big conglomerates continue to make huge investments in this technology.Spain and US are leaders in implementation of this Solar Technology type,however others like India and China are to building CSP plants as their energy needs continue to grow.Note like Solar PV,there are a number of different technology types for CSP like Power Tower,Parabolic Troughs,linear fresnel technology and Stirling Engines.Here is a list of the most important Solar Thermal Companies (Technology Providers cum Project Developers)

Australia has shortlisted 8 projects with 4 Solar PV and 4 Solar Thermal Projects for its Solar Flagship Program which will be decided in 2011.BP Solar with 150 MW and Suntech/Infigen with 195 MW are on the shortlist.The other 2 companies are energy utilities which are proposing to use Cd-Te Panels ( I think from First Solar).Note both of these energy utilities are small and might face problems in fund raising and execution.The firms shortlisted for the Solar Thermal Projects don’t inspire much confidence either.The selection procedure and how the subsidy will be disbursed has ran into controversy with accusations of bias and partiality.WA has not gotten any projects while Queensland province has gotten most of the projects.The firms shortlisted have also come under fire as they don’t have much experience.Not much information on how the firms were shortlisted but these companies are definitely not the best or cheapest by a big margin.Australia has generally made a mess of promoting renewable energy with New South Wales cutting feed in tariffs sharply after giving an overly generous subsidy.The Solar Flagship Program looks like an expensive mistake in the making if it comes to fruition.

Although the global financial crisis has pushed governments to sharply cut aid to the renewable sector, it has had little effect on costs in the solar mirror power sector compared with the photovoltaic (PV) sector, which uses solar panels to generate power.

“We’ve see some reduction in prices, but nothing like in the PV sector. Costs per megawatt are between 4 and 5 million but they can reach up to six depending on the kind of power storage system you use,” Seage said.

Sector analysts put the average cost of CSP per megawatt at about 5 million euros before the global financial crisis, about six times more than for conventional gas-fired power generation.

The high cost of CSP makes it unlikely to be competitive with conventional energy until the next decade, and that also depends on reasonable charges for carbon dioxide emissions.

“We see CSP power becoming competitive between 2020 and 2030, depending on a country’s levels of radiation,” Seage said.

Spanish Government Facing a Tough Fiscal Situation;Plans Green Energy Subsidy Change The Spanish Government has been  facing a tough budgetary situation due to sovereign debt problems afflicting Europe.The government is trying to structurally reform its Energy Sector to make it more competitive and dynamic.Spain has one of the largest  Renewable Energy Capacities in the world […]