The argument about who wins – Solar Photovoltaics (PV), Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (CSP), or Concentrating PV (CPV) – is currently all the rage. But in reality it is too early to identify winners and losers in the overall solar industry.
The solar industry, while growing exponentially in recent times, remains in startup phase compared with conventional power, and is now beginning to experience challenges with rapidly decreasing incentives, subpar availability of transmission and distribution, and for PV, almost overnight growth from MW to multi-GW level of demand.
Moving forward, reductions in the cost of (and advances in) balance of systems (rather than the technology) will be key for PV and CPV, while advances in installation techniques are crucial for all technologies. And if CSP can overcome the cost of building thermal storage into the technology, it will have a compelling case that may tip the scale for utilities.
So if we acknowledge that the future is far from mapped out, what is the current state of play in PV, CSP and CPV?
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