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Another Solar Thermal plant bites the dust as technology falls further behind Solar PV

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Solar thermal technology has become a failed one, with solar PV taking over as the mainstream solar energy technology. Solar thermal companies have been going bankrupt at a rapid pace and solar thermal plants are being cancelled left, right and center. Some of the solar thermal plants are being converted into solar PV ones now. Brightsource which is one of the biggest solar thermal companies, has recently canceled its plan to build a massive solar thermal plant in California. Despite, a JV with Abengoa another large solar thermal company, the project was called off without any reasons being given.

Solar PV has seen an 80% fall in costs, as the technology has become a mainstream one. Solar PV plants are not being installed in as low as 3 months, compared to the 4-5 years that it takes a solar thermal plant to be built. There are hundreds of suppliers of solar PV components with the recent tender of a Dubai solar PV plant seeing interest from more than 40 suppliers. In comparison, Indian solar thermal plants are not being built as suppliers such as Siemens and others are leaving the solar thermal segment. The technology has become a failed one, despite its ability to easily store power. The costs for solar PV is now much much lower than solar thermal power and installation is also much faster.

Solar PV has become a global phenomenon, with solar PV plants being put up in most countries now. In comparison, decent solar thermal capacities exist only in a few countries such as USA and Spain. Even in these countries, solar thermal capacity addition has become glacial with Spain almost putting a stop to solar energy growth due to the massive boom in solar PV installations in 2008. USA is also going almost solar PV, with companies like Vivint and SolarCity becoming billion dollar solar PV residential installers. In comparison, Brightsouce has failed to do an IPO due to lack of interest.


The consortium of solar companies seeking to build a 500-megawatt solar power tower project in Riverside County has formally withdrawn the project’s application from consideration by the California Energy Commission.

The Palen Solar Electric Generating System had just received tentative approval from the Commission this month to build one of two planned 750-foot solar power towers in the eastern Chuckwalla Valley.

But on Friday afternoon, project owner Palen Solar Holdings formally withdrew its petition on behalf of the project, which likely means the project is dead — at least for the foreseeable future.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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