Cost analysis

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Note. In this analysis, we do not count on government incentives for green energy. The solar energy cost is now too low to need such incentives. By the way, the very existence of the technology will make the governments cut off these incentives in the near future.

The basic price line of the new solar technology is 20€/m2 for collector wholesale price excluding transportation and sales taxes, that can be reached within a few years of commercialization. To this, a thermal storage cost of about 5€/m2 should be added for a storage capacity of one full day. See the supplier list.

As the collectors are shipped flat with a weight of about 6kg/m2, international transportation is limited to a few euros per m2. On the other hand, thermal storage devices must be produced locally because of the heavy weight.

Installation cost will be low, as the collectors need few or no field adjustment. The collectors will be pre-adjusted in the factory when necessary.

Therefore, the installed cost can be estimated to be around 50€/m2 for large or medium size installations. Installed in individual homes, this cost should be below 100€/m2, unless for difficult installations such as sloped rooftops.

If photovoltaic receiver is used, the estimated price add-on is about 0.5€/W.

The overall thermal efficiency of the collectors will be as high as 75% for low temperature applications, or about 65% for high temperature (250°C-350°C) applications. See here for detailed analysis and comparison with classical parabolic troughs.

The annual thermal energy output of one m2 of collector surface depends heavily on the location of its installation. It goes from highly insolated desert areas used for large scale power generation with up to 1700kWh/m2, down to less than 400kWh/m2 for unfavorable regions with high latitude.

Do not confuse this value with the annual productivity of non-concentrated solar water heaters! Explanations.

If we put an average value of 1000kWh/m2 and a discount rate of 10% for a primary comparison with other energy sources, we get a levelized wholesale thermal energy cost of 0.5c/kWh.

On the other hand, we take the average 2006 price for fossil energy in our crice comparison, to avoid the recent huge price fluctuations. Cost and efficiency of burners are taken into account. See this page for a reference.

In view of this primary comparison, the price of solar energy is irresistible. However, in practice there are many variations. We give some examples in the following.

For medium and large scale exloitations, the annual cost is taken to be 5€/m2 with a discount rate of 10%; for home installations, the annual cost will be 6€/m2 with a discount rate of 6%, as in this case the installation does not devaluate.

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