South Africa’s First Concentrated Solar Power Plant Comes to Life
Supported by IFC and Clean Technology Fund
For years, concentrated solar power (CSP) was mostly viewed as a clean-tech curiosity, a technology whose theoretical promise was bogged down by high costs and high risks. But in many markets, that is changing—and changing fast. In March 2015, the 100MW, $891 million KaXu CSP plant in South Africa completed construction and has started producing power, thus becoming the first utility-scale CSP plant to operate in the developing world.
Gianleo Frasari explains how public buy-in and bidding can reduce costs for concentrated solar power
Concentrated solar power (CSP) is an innovative, low-carbon power generation technology of great promise. However, because of its high costs and hefty upfront capital needs, global deployment is still low at around 3GW. To achieve cost reductions, CSP needs to see further deployment. But, for now all CSP technologies need some form of public support.
In the past, renewable energy technologies have been much more expensive than their fossil fuel competitors but costs of wind and solar have come down after public support has deployed them at scale. In fact, costs of solar photovoltaic power plants have decreased roughly 20% and wind power plants 15% every time installed capacity has doubled.