A Guide to Implementing Concentrating Solar Power in Production Cost Models

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a unique form of renewable energy because it can be integrated with thermal energy storage (TES). CSP-TES can provide value to the power grid by supplying a dispatchable source of renewable energy and potentially other grid services such as operating reserves. These characteristics of CSP-TES are often incompletely captured in utility-planning or technology-valuation analyses. We describe an approach for representing the dispatchability of CSP-TES accurately in production cost models, while considering the resource-dependent nature of the technology. We also discuss the challenge of properly representing the ability of CSP-TES to provide operating reserves because of the technology's energy-limited nature. We apply our modeling methods to illustrate how the value of providing dispatchable energy and ancillary services can be captured together and independently. This approach can be applied to most commercial, academic, and open-source production cost models to value CSP-TES appropriately in power system planning studies.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-68527


  • ancillary services
  • concentrating solar power with thermal energy storage
  • energy value
  • grid analysis
  • power systems modeling
  • reserves
  • SAM


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