EME 812
Utility Solar Power and Concentration




Lesson 8 will cover a few important issues related to planning the large-scale CSP facilities. As we have already understood, performance of solar systems is very dependent on the locale, weather, and other physical conditions. Therefore, selection of good site for a CSP project is a strategic step to take in order to ensure that the technology performs to its potential. So, criteria to consider in site selection are addressed in this lesson. Next, we will take a look at some factors in the social and economic spheres that pertinent to success of the solar projects. Finally, this lesson also touches upon the life cycle assessment of the CSP technology - LCA study examines a variety of metrics, which help constraining the project with available resources and produced environmental impacts. In this lesson, you will be assigned to learn from a couple of published papers which present different methods of project assessment. Also, an lesson activity done in SAM software will give you some practical exercise with system parameters.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  1. understand the prerequisites for location of a CSP plant;
  2. demonstrate the basics of the feasibility analysis for CSP systems;
  3. define the key metrics used in socio-economic and environmental assessment of the CSP projects;
  4. generate CSP system performance data in SAM software.


Report: Stoddard, L., Owens, B., Morse, F., and Kearney, D., New Mexico Concentrating Solar Plant Feasibility Study, Report to New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, 2005.

Journal article: Lechon, Y., de la Rua, C., and Saez, R., Life Cycle Environmental Impacts of Electricity Production by Solarthermal Power Plants in Spain, J. Solar Energy Eng., 130, (2008).

Journal article: Caldes, N., Varela, M., Santamaria, M., and Saez, R., Economic impact of solar thermal electricity deployment in Spain, Energy Policy 37, 1628-1636 (2009).