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Global Concentrated Solar Power Industry to Reach 25 GW by 2020

Led by development in Spain and potential in the U.S., concentrated solar power markets are entering a new growth phase, amidst a tumultuous global economic landscape. The CSP industry is scaling rapidly with 1.2 GW under construction as of April 2009 and another 13.9 GW announced globally through 2014, according to a new study from Emerging Energy Research analyzing global CSP markets and strategies.

Spain is the epicenter of CSP development with 22 projects for 1,037 MW under construction, all of which are projected to come online by the end of 2010. The current Spanish Royal Decree, which calls for 500 MW of solar CSP by 2010, has been largely responsible for the dramatic increase in CSP development activity in Spain since 2008.

However, a review of Spain’s feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme is underway and its outcome will have a significant impact upon 6 GW of projects in the pipeline. The success of Spain’s longer-term CSP position will largely depend on the government’s willingness to continue fostering CSP development through feed-in tariffs, according to EER.

Global CSP Pipeline by Country, 1985-2014

Source: Emerging Energy Research

Despite only 75 MW of CSP under construction, the U.S. continues to offer significant opportunity for CSP, with 8.5 GW in the pipeline and scheduled for installation by 2014.

While parabolic trough represents more than 96% of all CSP projects currently under construction in Spain, the technology accounts for only 40% of the U.S. CSP pipeline. Backed by sufficient government incentives, Spanish CSP developers have not been compelled to take on major technology risks, according to EER.

Regional CSP Pipeline by Technology

Source: Emerging Energy Research

“The U.S. market has a greater technology mix, as the highly cost-competitive marketplace encourages innovative technology development, such as central receiver, dish engine, and linear Fresnel,” said Reese Tisdale, research director for Emerging Energy Research. “The race is on to determine which CSP technology can deliver, particularly in the uncertain economic climate.”

Spain and the U.S. will continue to lead CSP project development activity for the next decade due to a combination of resource and policy support, according to EER. The rest of southern Europe has yet to catch neighboring Spain’s solar CSP fever, primarily due to a lack of government incentives. According to the EER's study, CSP activity is also gaining momentum in the Middle East, North Africa and the Asia Pacific regions.

For more information on the report from EER, click here.

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