Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Hanel M. and Escobar R. (2013)

Influence of solar energy resource assessment uncertainty in the levelized electricity cost of concentrated solar power plants in Chile. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2012.01.056

Revista : Renewable Energy
Volumen : 49
Páginas : 96-100
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The deployment of renewable energy power plants is a priority of the Chilean government. A mandatory quota system requires that 5% of the electricity generated in the country must come from renewable energy sources, gradually increasing to 10% by 2024. As of 2010, solar energy has received attention only for small-scale future demonstration projects. Concentrated solar power (CSP) plants are an interesting option for the country, especially when considering the high levels of solar radiation and clearness index that are available in northern Chile. Here we present a thermal and economic analysis of CSP plants of the parabolic trough type, comparing five different configurations including thermal energy storage and fossil fuel backup. The electricity yields are obtained from hourly simulations that consider radiation levels, solar field, and power plant characteristics. An economic model that includes the costs of construction, operation and maintenance allows predicting the levelized electricity cost (LEC) as a function of plant configuration and location. The results indicate that the plants can produce dispatchable electricity at a cost that is competitive and inversely proportional to radiation levels. A sensitivity analysis is conducted in order to determine the influence of solar field area and radiation levels, and the optimal plant configuration and solar field area are obtained as a result.