Initial Thermal Energy Yield Potential for the Use of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) for Coal Hybridization in India

Parthiv Kurup, Ted Kwasnik, Billy Roberts, Tim Wendelin

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The hybridization of concentrating solar power (CSP) with coal-based power generation in India may serve to mitigate fossil fuel use externalities. Assuming parabolic trough systems without storage, this report estimates the upper bound on thermal energy production from India's solar resource to be 633,000 terawatt-thermal (TWth) annually. Moreover, considering land characteristic constraints, contiguous solar fields (SF) area limitations, and existing coal plant proximity, we produce technical potential estimates. Within 1,000 meters (m) of suitable coal plants, we find the average capacity factor to be 21.1% and the potential for 102,555 gigawatthours thermal (GWhth) aggregated from 25 megawatt thermal (MWth) CSP SFs. Only about 10% of the land within 1,000 m of each existing coal plant is anticipated to be suitable for hybridization development, and on average this land is expected to support a 43 MWth SF that yields 81 GWhth annually. Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu are particularly suited to CSP-coal hybridization and the abundance of suitable land in these states would allow SFs to provide 129 GWhth annually to each coal plant on average. Future research will assess the financial viability of hybridization and explore coal plant optimization strategies that integrate CSP-derived heat (e.g. feedwater heating or potentially coal drying).This study shows significant CSP-coal hybridisation potential for the existing coal plants in India. This preliminary study suggests CSP-coal hybridization may play a supporting role in India's energy system, but it's future is still largely uncertain. This is an area of considerable interest in India, and the methodology could also be adapted for other areas of the world like the United States.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages30
StatePublished - 2019

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-74024


  • coal
  • concentrating solar power
  • CSP
  • CSP-coal hybridization
  • GIS
  • India
  • mapping


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