News Brief

Solar Farms Abandoning Concentrating Solar for PV

By Evan DickConcentrating solar power (CSP), the process of using the sun’s thermal energy to create steam to spin turbines for electricity generation, has usually been considered the most cost-effective option for solar farms. However, falling prices for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels coupled with environmental concerns over the impact of CSP plants are leading some developers to abandon CSP in favor of PV.

A spike in production of PV due to a mandate for California’s utilities to source 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2010 has made PV 3–4 cents cheaper per kilowatt-hour than CSP. Further, CSP plants require large, continuous tracts of land and heavy machinery, which disturbs fragile habitat in the deserts where these plants are built. While still damaging to desert landscapes, PV allows greater flexibility in terms of land use and requires less heavy machinery.

Published July 1, 2011

Dick, E. (2011, July 1). Solar Farms Abandoning Concentrating Solar for PV. Retrieved from

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