“Optimize your project from the start: How to find an appropriate CSP Site”

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Source: FCBI Energy

Technical Top Tip courtesy of Ferrostaal. Secure your project at development stage.

Choosing the best site for a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant is key to an economically successful project. Among others, four factors play a central role:

  1. Solar Resources. A thorough investigation of irradiation databases can help in an initial assessment of sites. However, only on-ground measurements provide the accuracy to select the right one. And this accurate measurement is well worth its costs: finding a site with 10% higher irradiation decreases total electricity generating costs by approx. 8%.
  2. Land Slope. Once exceeding a technology specific slope threshold, further 1% slope over 2km2 can mean $ 2-5M higher leveling cost. Additionally, since the land preparations are at an early stage of the project, they have an especially negative influence on the project cash flow.
  3. Availability of Water. Depending on the ambient temperature, dry cooling incurs a 2-4% loss of overall plant efficiency. This translates directly into lower annual production and plant revenues. Consequently, having water available and acquiring the necessary permits for its use can significantly increase the project economics.
  4. Distance to Grid. Each kilometer of transmission line from the site to the grid sub-station increases the investment costs by $ 0.8M. Both the analysis of transmission line paths as well as early discussions with utility companies on possible substation capacity reservation can reduce unnecessary costs.

Early stage assessments can save or earn millions of dollars over the plant lifetime.


Ferrostaal incorporates a complex catalogue of multiple factors in the pre - and feasibility analysisfor their clients. Please contact solar@ferrostaal.com for further information.

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