Decarbonization Avenue : Concentrated Solar Power

In fact

Prospects for power tower

Solar CSP has for quite some time had four competing technologies - parabolic trough, power tower, dish sterling and fresnel lenses.

The first of the four - parabolic trough - has maintained a clear lead over others in the first few installations that had taken place. However, of later, power tower technology seems to be making it a more interesting race.

Heliogen, one of the high profile CSP startups with the legendary Bill Gross at the helm and high profile backers such as Bill Gates, is focussing on power tower technology and this has given the technology a big boost.

While competition might be a good thing, an emerging dominant standard might also be a good thing for the industry to achieve economies of scale. A parallel can be drawn between c-Si (crystalline silicon) and thin film solar cells. Both technologies were competing hard until about 2013, post which c-Si took a giant lead (with China being the Big Brother) and by 2020, thin film solar had all but consigned to the dustbin of history. While one might rue the demise of thin film solar, the dominance of crystalline solar and the certainty around that technology led to massive investments which resulted in dramatic reductions in the cost of solar cells.

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