Current and Future Costs for Parabolic Trough and Power Tower Systems in the US Market: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


NREL's Solar Advisor Model (SAM) is employed to estimate the current and future costs for parabolic trough and molten salt power towers in the US market. Future troughs are assumed to achieve higher field temperatures via the successful deployment of low melting-point, molten-salt heat transfer fluids by 2015-2020. Similarly, it is assumed that molten salt power towers are successfully deployedat 100MW scale over the same time period, increasing to 200MW by 2025. The levelized cost of electricity for both technologies is predicted to drop below 11 cents/kWh (assuming a 10% investment tax credit and other financial inputs outlined in the paper), making the technologies competitive in the marketplace as benchmarked by the California MPR. Both technologies can be deployed with largeamounts of thermal energy storage, yielding capacity factors as high as 65% while maintaining an optimum LCOE.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2010
EventSolarPACES 2010 - Perpignan, France
Duration: 21 Sep 201024 Sep 2010


ConferenceSolarPACES 2010
CityPerpignan, France

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-49303


  • LCOE
  • molten salt
  • MPR
  • parabolic trough
  • power towers


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