Cost of solar thermal

Cost of solar thermal

Learning curve

When new technology is developed, the price first increases and goes over budget (what a surprise!), then with experience the cost reduces.




Central receiver plant with 6 hours storage component costs and the cost reduction (2012 AUD) projected 
to occur between the years 2010 to 2020 for each component (Hinkley, Curtin et al. 2011). Costs have been inflated 
from AUD 2010 to AUD 2012 by 3.1% per year. kWth = unit of thermal output in kW, kWe gross = unit of electrical 
output in kW based on installed rather than sent out capacity. The installed capacity in this example is 21 MW.


Table 2. Central receiver plant with 6 hours storage and solar multiple of 2 component costs (2012 AUD) for the 
years 2020 and 2030. The 2030 costs are adjusted to match the AETA study plant cost and plant dimensions (area 
of the solar field, thermal power of the receiver and storage, and gross electrical power output of the power block)


CSIRO study

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