The joint study by A.T. Kearney and the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association, ESTELA, shows the growing mid-term potential of solar thermal to progressively substitute conventional energy sources and complement the renewable energy sources portfolio.
Within the next 10 years solar thermal could be able to run with a profitable business model – challenging conventional and other renewable energy sources without any subsidies, A.T. Kearney and ESTELA says.
In a best case scenario and with the proper support, solar thermal could reach a global installed capacity of up to 100 GW by 2025. This would involve the creation of a maximum of 130,000 jobs of which 45,000 would be permanent full-time jobs in operation and maintenance, according to the study.
Solar thermal is now entering a commercial ramp-up phase with 3 GW of generation capacity and new large-scale projects of over 50 MW being deployed around the world – currently mainly in Spain and the USA.
“The STE industry’s innovation efforts from the past decades are now yielding fruit. What we see today is a proven and ever more attractive industry that is right on track to soon seriously challenge conventional and other renewable energy sources. According to the study, in a best-case scenario and with the proper support STE could reach a global installed capacity of up to 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2025,” says José Alfonso Nebrera, President of ESTELA.
Assuming fulfilment of the industry roadmap as outlined in the study, solar thermal penetration is expected to reach 12 GW of installed capacity by 2015, 30 GW by 2020 and between 60 and 100 GW by 2025.
Dr. Martin Sonnenschein, Head of A.T. Kearney Central Europe, says: “The potential is tremendous. Depending on the STE technology used and the dispatchability of the plant, a cost reduction up to 30% can be expected by 2015. Therefore between 2015 and 2020 tariffs for STE can be reduced by as much as 50%. In areas of high irradiation, for example in MENA, additional cost reductions for electricity generation of up to 25% are feasible. Together those cost reductions can result in tariffs of €0.10-0.12/kWh.”