Molten Salt Power Tower Cost Model for the System Advisor Model (SAM)

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This report describes a component-based cost model developed for molten-salt power tower solar power plants. The cost model was developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), using data from several prior studies, including a contracted analysis from WorleyParsons Group, which is included herein as an Appendix. The WorleyParsons' analysis also estimated material composition andmass for the plant to facilitate a life cycle analysis of the molten salt power tower technology. Details of the life cycle assessment have been published elsewhere. The cost model provides a reference plant that interfaces with NREL's System Advisor Model or SAM. The reference plant assumes a nominal 100-MWe (net) power tower running with a nitrate salt heat transfer fluid (HTF). Thermal energystorage is provided by direct storage of the HTF in a two-tank system. The design assumes dry-cooling. The model includes a spreadsheet that interfaces with SAM via the Excel Exchange option in SAM. The spreadsheet allows users to estimate the costs of different-size plants and to take into account changes in commodity prices. This report and the accompanying Excel spreadsheet can be downloadedat
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages53
StatePublished - 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5500-57625


  • CSP
  • molten salt
  • power towers
  • SAM
  • solar
  • System Advisor Model (SAM)


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