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Solar Thermal Energy to be 50% Less Expensive by 2020

Solar_Thermal_EnergyAccording to the director at the Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), by 2020, solar energy will be 50% cheaper.

Due to fossil fuel subsidies and limited hours of solar thermal energy power plants, solar power is still quite expensive.

Top researchers at the Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI), CSIRO’s $87 million research facility, is a gathering of the top Australian researchers in the field who have the collective goal to make solar thermal energy less expensive by developing more efficient technology while reducing capital costs.

ASTRI’s new director believes that by 2020 the research center might be able to cut the cost of solar thermal energy by 12 cents a kilowatt hour, considerably less than the current 25 cents a kilowatt hour.

The plan to achieve this goal involves cutting costs on the construction of solar plants and increasing the hours of plant operating hours by up to 50% in order to produce and sell more energy to the grid. This should, according to the director, reduce maintenance and operating costs while improving plant efficiencies.

Hurdles do exist. The Australian government is still somewhat reluctant to implement policies to create a market for medium-scale photovoltaic and CST solar power stations, making it difficult to find ways to reduce current costs.

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About the author

Leigh is a Senior Technical Communicator working in the energy sector in Dallas, Texas. Prior to her work in the energy industry, Leigh spent years specializing in life saving engineering projects for the US Department of Defense. In her spare time, Leigh pursues her passions of environmental awareness, vegan baking, dog rescue, and defending the place of art, literature, and music in a world that values science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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