Tracking Power

Not on track
Charles Devaux Ibtnswmmthe Unsplash

Concentrating solar power

Not on track

Concentrating solar power generation in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2030



Concentrating solar power (CSP) generation increased by an estimated 17% in 2018. Nevertheless, CSP is not on track with the SDS, which requires annual average growth of almost 26% through 2030. Policy design that emphasises CSP plant storage value will be key to attract additional investment.
Tracking progress

In 2018, 700 MW of CSP capacity were added – the largest annual expansion since 2013 and almost six times more than in 2017.

China and Morocco led the growth by each commissioning 200 MW. Three projects became operational in China, while one single project in Morocco (Noor II) began producing electricity. In addition, the 100‑MW Ilanga project in South Africa, awarded in 2013, also became operational.

In contrast with 2011‑17, when electricity generation from CSP increased an average 25% per year as total global capacity tripled, in 2018 it rose by only an estimated 17% despite record-level additions. Full-load hours were low in the second half of the year because new capacity was being commissioned, and generation in Spain (the largest contributor) fell 12% due to weaker performance of its fleet. Annual capacity expansion needs to reach 8 GW per year by 2030 in order to reach SDS levels.

CSP is forecast to grow by 3.4 GW during 2019‑24. China leads at 1.4 GW, followed by 0.7 GW from projects receiving multilateral development bank support in Morocco and South Africa, 1 GW in the Middle East and 180 MW in Australia and 110 MW in Chile. Spain and the United States, the two countries with the most installed capacity, are not expected to commission projects over the forecast period.

Recent auction results indicate significant cost reduction potential, but technology risks, restricted access to financing, long project lead times and market designs that do not value storage continue to challenge CSP deployment.

CSP growth is forecast to come mostly from emerging economies, especially China, Morocco and South Africa, where the largest plants with longer storage hours are expected to come online. Although China has introduced an ambitious target of 5 GW by 2020 with several pilot projects, deployment has been slow.

Additional resources
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