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7.3.4: CSP – Pros and Contras

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    • Fully “renewable”, carbon-free energy
    • Operating costs are low – the “fuel”, the solar light, is essentially for free. The only costs are service and maintenance costs.
    • Can utilize thermal storage to better match supply with demand (not possible in PV power plants).
    • High efficiency of converting solar power to electric power – about twice the efficiency of the PV installations.


    • Intermittent – therefore, CSP plants can be located only at regions of exceptionally high number of sunshine hours/year: e.g., in Nevada, California, at major desert areas such as Sahara, or Gobi; in Europe, essentially only in Spain an in Portugal.
    • Heavily location dependent (see the preceding item).
    • Construction/installation costs are high.
    • A single installation requires a considerable amount of space.
    • Manufacturing processes often create pollution.
    • Environmental concerns in the case of tower-type installations: birds flying to close to the tower (the beams aimed at the absorber are in- visible!) get burned alive.

    7.3.4: CSP – Pros and Contras is shared under a CC BY 1.3 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Tom Giebultowicz.

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