Guideline on Yield Assessment of CSP Plants



February 2017
Written by SolarPACES

Dear colleagues,


we would like to make you aware of a new SolarPACES guideline on yield assessment of concentrating solar thermal power plants which has been developed within a SolarPACES expert group during the last years. The guideline and additional material such as meteorological data sets for 4 different sites are available for download under The guideline supports the user to reach a high quality standard for technical yield analysis suitable for project finance. It addresses players involved in the project development process like project developers, consultants, lenders, owners, suppliers as well as people from R&D.


We would be happy to see many of you implementing this resource into your daily work and, by that, increase the quality level in yield analysis within the CSP community. The guideline project is going on and we are always welcoming experts to contribute to the next steps by working out new material, reviewing material, or providing feedback from application.


We will also inform about the next step which is preparing an introductory webinar for the guideline. Any updates of the guideline project will be announced on the SolarPACES website.

The value of concentrating solar power in electricity markets with variable energy sources



October 2015
Written by Ezequiel Ferrer, SolarPACES Project Engineer

Today a kick-off meeting will launch a new SolarPACES activity, recently approved for funding in the last SolarPACES ExCo meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa. This activity will focus on evaluating the role and value of CSP electricity in a series of country specific system integration studies. It brings together a group of experts from different countries and has identified a simplified methodology that can be considered as potential first step in order to provide an initial assessment on how to reliably support the electric load in a country or region and to identify what role CSP can play in this context. While the model and corresponding results are based on some simplifying assumptions, they can serve as a basis for discussion with regional stakeholders and to communicate the deficiency of rating technologies solely on their Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE). Our hope is that such analysis may help to trigger more detailed grid integration studies in the identified target markets.


The tool proposed for this effort is designed to calculate, for a given load demand and a predefined capacity of variable renewable energy systems like wind or PV, the technology mix with the lowest generation cost that is able to reliably cover the load curve. Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a valuable source of flexibility as it can be easily combined with thermal storage and/or a co-firing unit guaranteeing electricity production in the presence of fluctuating levels of solar irradiation. With the developed method, a first estimate of the value of CSP electricity generation in a system context can be given in comparison to alternative technologies. The method has been developed by a team of RWTH Aachen University and applied in a national energy study on the German energy system in 2050.

Dr. Manuel J. Blanco re-elected as SolarPACES Chairperson



October 2015
Written by Dr. Manuel J. Blanco, Chairman SolarPACES Executive Committee

Manuel BlancoThe SolarPACES Executive Committee, in a meeting held on Sunday, 18 October, 2015, in Cape Town, South Africa, re-elected Dr. Manuel J. Blanco, as its Chairperson. Dr. Blanco is a Science Leader of the Solar Energy Systems Research Group of CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency) and Director of the Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI), an 8-year 87-million dollars multi-institution research program aimed to increase the cost competitiveness of concentrating solar thermal technologies and enhance the international positioning of Australia in these technologies. He is also the Coordinator of EU-SOLARIS, a six million Euros European FP7 project whose goal is to carry out all the preparatory activities needed to create an international organization to manage, as a Distributed Large European Research Infrastructure, the Concentrating Solar Thermal research infrastructures of eleven European and Mediterranean research centres. He has been Former Director of the Solar Thermal Energy Department of the National Renewable Energy Centre of Spain (CENER); Chair and Full Professor of the Engineering Department of the University of Texas at Brownsville; and Director of the Plataforma Solar de Almería of CIEMAT the largest European solar research infrastructure.

The countdown is on SolarPACES 2015



October 2015
Written by Dr. Manuel J. Blanco, Chairman SolarPACES Executive Committee

In Cape Town (South Africa) everything is ready to host the SolarPACES 2015 Conference, the foremost symposium in concentrating solar power and chemical energy systems. This international convention will take place from October 13-16, 2015. This is the twenty first occasion on which the SolarPACES Conference will be held.

A large number of experts arrived from several places of the world are participating in the different session the next week in Cape Town.  Researches, policy makers, industry representatives and organisms and organizations representatives meet to discuss concentrating solar power technology development and systems; thermochemical energy, water desalination and detoxification... Definitely, SolarPACES 2015 will be a meeting point to share experiences, points of view, … and encourage commercial  networks and projects as well. 

SolarPACES tests your creativity



August 2015
Written by Dr. Manuel J. Blanco, Chairman SolarPACES Executive Committee

After more than 38 years since SolarPACES was founded, we felt the time is right to renew our image to reflect the current work and vision of our Implementing Agreement and the ongoing evolution of its brand. The network of engineers and scientist, which constitute the backbone of SolarPACES, has grown and evolved over the years and we felt it is time for a change to better reflect who we are and what we symbolize.


Our goal is to reimagine SolarPACES visual mark and create a visual identity that reflects the values associated to SolarPACES collective endeavor. An endeavor, which is nothing more but nothing else than the application of human ingenuity to harness the power of the Sun for the benefit of mankind. We want you to feel reflected on the hard work and the good spirit of Concentrating Solar Power and Solar Chemistry technologies growing strong and spreading its impact far and wide.


We are interested in positioning SolarPACES as the reference international network for everyone involved in promoting the advance and development of concentrating solar thermal and solar chemistry technologies, which we strongly believe have the potential to play an important role, if not a fundamental one, in delivering sustainable, environmentally friendly, and affordable energy solutions for all.


We want our new logo to keep pace with the forward-thinking CSP technologies. We want it to show that our network goes the extra mile to help you find every piece of information related to the growing number of concentrating solar power projects around the world and to facilitate technology development, market deployment and energy partnerships for sustainable, reliable, efficient and cost-competitive concentrating solar technologies by providing leadership as the international network of independent experts.


In order to achieve all these objectives, we've launched an online logo design contest so that we can benefit from multiple designs from the creative minds of thousands of designers around the globe. Creating a great logo is no easy task so, with more than 40,000 designers, we believe Crowdsite will help us on the process of creating our new logo so that we can keep fresh and alive our image in a rapidly changing visual marketplace.


This contest will be open until September 21. If you are feeling creative, go to our contest in the Crowdsite website and submit your designs. You could be the proud designer who helps us shine brighter than ever.



2014 SolarPACES International Conference Review



September 2014
Written by Dr. Manuel J. Blanco, Chairman SolarPACES Executive Committee

The 2014 SolarPACES International Conference ended today. As it is customary in all SolarPACES conferences, during the four days of the conference, researchers, policymakers and industry representative were briefed in the latest advances on Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and Solar Chemistry technologies, exchanged views on the present and future of these technologies, and explored opportunities for collaboration.


Of particular relevance in this conference’s edition has been the interest and support expressed by the Chinese authorities to the development of CSP in China; the fact that the International Energy Agency (IEA) selected the conference to present its Solar Roadmaps 214 and to publicly express its appreciation for the work that the SolarPACES Implementing Agreement is carrying out; the excellent level of participation, and the increasing number of young researchers that participated in the conference, bringing with them a plethora of new ideas and contributing with their dedication and commitment to expand and strengthen our international research community.


In the coming days we will be reporting on the main findings of the conference, but we will also start preparing the 2015 SolarPACES International Conference, which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, from Tuesday, 13 October to Friday 15 October 2015 and promises to be as exciting as the one that just finished some hours ago.


Overview of the IEA Solar Roadmaps 2014 for PV and Solar Thermal Electricity (STE)



September 2014
Written by Dr. Manuel J. Blanco, Chairman SolarPACES Executive Committee

The first day of the SolarPACES Conference, Tuesday, September 16, Cedric Philibert, on behalf of the International Energy Agency (IEA), provided in a conference plenary an overview of the IEA Solar Roadmaps 2014 for PV and Solar Thermal Electricity (STE). This overview was delivered at the SolarPACES Conference in advance to the formal dissemination of the roadmaps that the IEA will carry out by webinar shortly.

Among the key findings of the IEA roadmap for STE technologies, the following ones are particularly relevant:

  • “From a system perspective, STE offers significant advantages over PC, mostly because of its built-in thermal storage capabilities. […] Both technologies, while being competitors on some projects, are ultimately complementary.”
  • “Deployment [of STE technologies] would increase rapidly after 2020 when STE becomes competitive for peak and mid-merit power in a carbon-constrained world, ranging from 30 GW to 40 GW of new-built plants per year after 2030.”
  • “Market structures and regulatory frameworks that fail to provide robust long-term price signals beyond few months or years are thus unlikely to attract sufficient investment to achieve this roadmap’s vision in particular and timely decarbonisation of the global energy system in general.”

The key actions proposed in the roadmap for the next five years are essential to ensure that STE technologies fulfil their promise of delivering clean, affordable energy to millions of people around the world. These actions are:


  • “Set long-term targets, supported by predictable mechanisms to drive investments.
  • “Address non-economic barriers and develop streamlined procedures for permitting.”
  • “Remunerate STE according to its value, which depends on time of delivery.”
  • “Implement support schemes with fair remuneration to investors but predictable decrease over time of the level of support.”
  • “Design and implement investment markets for new-built CSP plant and other renewable energy plants, and markets for ancillary services.”
  • “Avoid retroactive legislative changes.”


Clearly, they draw on the lessons learned within the last years regarding the efforts of different countries to create the appropriate environment for the development of STE technologies.

20th SolarPACES Conference



September 2014
Written by Dr. Manuel J. Blanco, Chairman SolarPACES Executive Committee

Today, the International SolarPACES Conference started in Beijing, China. Over the years, the International SolarPACES Conference has positioned itself as the reference international conference of the Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) and Solar Chemistry community of researchers, policy makers, and industry.