Probabilistic Analysis of Power Tower Systems to Achieve Sunshot Goals

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The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SunShot goal seeks to reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for solar energy technologies to $0.06/kWh. A number of cost and technical performance targets for various concentrating solar power (CSP) components have been issued by the DOE to meet the SunShot goals for CSP. This paper presents probabilistic analyses of the LCOE for a 100 MWe power tower system with inherent cost and performance uncertainties. Previous results show that while CSP systems are likely to meet the cost target necessary to compete broadly in U.S. markets, there is a very low probability of reaching an LCOE of $0.06/kWh if parameter uncertainty distributions are used that range from current cost and performance values to the current DOE targets. This work investigates additional parameter distributions using new cost and technical targets to determine performance and cost scenarios for power tower systems that yield finite probabilities of achieving $0.06/kWh. Starting with the "baseline" uncertainty distributions, the minimum (or maximum) value for each uncertain parameter was "improved" by ∼50% and ∼75%. Results show that the probability of achieving an LCOE of $0.06/kWh increases to 15% and 46%, respectively, with these new cost and technical targets.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2014
EventInternational Conference on Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems, SolarPACES 2013 - Las Vegas, NV, United States
Duration: 17 Sep 201320 Sep 2013


ConferenceInternational Conference on Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems, SolarPACES 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLas Vegas, NV

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-62269


  • Concentrating solar power
  • Probalistic modeling
  • SunShot
  • Uncertainty analysis


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