Summary Paper: An Initial Heliostat Supply Chain Analysis

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This paper summarizes the analysis, key findings, and recommendations from the recent report titled "Initial Heliostat Supply Chain Analysis" (1). Globally, the growing demand for concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies, primarily for electricity generation plants has been met with supply chains primarily composed of plentiful commodity materials such as steel, aluminium, and glass. Often the commodity materials can be sourced in the domestic market where power plant will be constructed. Although specialty components are required for CSP solar fields - including mirror panels used for heliostat applications - these specialty components constitute about 30-50% of total system installed costs (2). Only a few companies and countries, including the United States, have developed the capacity to supply such spe-cialty components. The U.S. heliostat supply chain at present is comprised of few companies (e.g., CSP developers), component suppliers, and is its infancy. By 2035, with current and aggressive solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity expansions, there is the potential for 500,000-1,500,000 direct and indirect jobs in the areas of manufactur-ing, installation and development, and operations and maintenance (O&M) (3). Utilizing the CSP capacity estimations the recent NREL report (4), the construction of 39 gigawatts (GW) of CSP (assuming mainly power tower) in the U.S. could lead to approximately 195,000 manu-facturing, construction, and O&M jobs. This does not include the longer-term jobs and eco-nomic impact (e.g., taxes from plant operations staff) from operating the plants once con-structed. It is recommended that further CSP component and system supply chain analysis and modelling be undertaken.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2024
EventSolarPACES 2022 - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Duration: 27 Sep 202230 Sep 2022


ConferenceSolarPACES 2022
CityAlbuquerque, New Mexico

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-7A40-84006


  • concentrating solar power
  • CSP
  • HelioCon
  • heliostat
  • supply chain


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