Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Marzo A., Salmon A., Polo J., Ballestrín J., Soto G., Quiñones G., Alonso-Montesinos J., Carra E., Ibarra M., Cardemil J.M., Fuentealba E., Escobar E. (2021)

Solar extinction map in Chile for applications in solar power tower plants, comparison with other places from sunbelt and impact on LCOE

Revista : Renewable Energy
Volumen : 170
Páginas : 197-211
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Direct normal solar irradiation is a crucial parameter for site selection and design of solar power tower plants. It also has a high impact on economic studies, such as the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). However, direct solar irradiation can be partially extinguished in its path between heliostats and receivers. Therefore, considering only direct normal solar irradiation in the solar resource assessment for tower plant projects is insufficient and leads to errors.This paper presents an improved methodology to estimate the extinction of radiation in the first 150 m of the lower atmosphere, where solar power tower plants are located. This work also shows the first atmospheric extinction maps, which in this case are elaborated for Chilean territory, and the intercomparison of extinction values with other places of interest in the sunbelt. Chile stands out for having the lowest annual atmospheric extinction values, below 4% for 1 km of slant range, while elsewhere annual losses can reach up to 17%. These values limit the amount of local useful solar resource available directly impacting on the LCOE values calculated for solar tower power plants. A new equation for the calculation of the LCOE considering atmospheric extinction is proposed in this paper.