Solar thermal LCOE with and without storage

John Roles – excerpt from his analysis of CSP.

(…) From a broader perspective it appears that LFR technology is already at a slightly lower cost ( from the information and data I have been privy to) than trough technology. This is despite the fact that LFR technology is at a much earlier point on the cost development curve than troughs. It is reasonable then to conclude then that LFR will ultimately be the winner.

As an aside I do not understand the unreasonable push to incorporate high levels of storage onto solar thermal plant. The LCOE for solar thermal without storage will probably end up at around $150/MW. While I have not run any definitive numbers I believe that the marginal LCOE for additional storage will not be any lower than this. For plant without storage you are competing with a current spot price of maybe $50. This is bad enough but for the marginal addition of storage the LCOE will be $150 and the relative competitive spot price will be $20.

Why, it simply does not make sense. You are eroding the one factor, the match between output and demand, that is attractive about solar thermal. To use a mixed analogy, pigs are good for bacon why even bother puting lipstick on it.

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