Barriers to Solar Process Heat Projects: Fifteen Highly Promising (But Cancelled) Projects

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    We analyzed technical, economic, and institutional barriers encountered by the solar industry in penetrating the market of solar thermal systems as applied in industry, commerce, and government. The barriers discussed are not theoretical or developed by conducting marketing research surveys of potential users. Rather, they are barriers that precluded implementing actual solar projects for 15'highly promising' prospective users. The efforts to determine their technical and economic feasibility were funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Process Heat (SPH) program. Each year, the SPH program conducts a prefeasibility studies activity-an engineering assessment of the technical and economic feasibility of a solar system for a specific application for a specific end-user.These studies also assess institutional issues that impact the feasibility of the proposed project and develop an action plan for the project's implementation. In FY 1991 and FY 1992, the program funded a total of 11 studies in which solar projects were investigated for 21 potential users. Of these 21 potential users, only three have made firm commitments to acquire solar systems, yielding a 14%success rate (decisions by three other companies are still pending). The low success rate is disappointing because the solar companies had complete freedom to select 'highly promising' potential users. We therefore evaluated the reasons for the low success rate and the implications for market penetration.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages9
    StatePublished - 1994

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-472-7295


    • barriers
    • solar industry
    • solar process heat
    • solar projects
    • solar thermal systems


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