Solar PV-CSP Hybridisation for Baseload Generation : A Techno-economic Analysis for the Chilean Market
The development of high capacity factor solar power plants is an interesting topic, especially when considering the climate and economic conditions of a location such as the Chilean Atacama Desert. The hybridisation of solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies for such an application is a promising collaboration. The low cost of PV and dispatchability of CSP, integrated with thermal energy storage (TES), has the promise of delivering baseload electricity at a lower cost than what could be achieved with CSP alone. Therefore, the objective of this work was to evaluate whether or not a hybrid PV-CSP plant is more economically viable, than CSP alone or hybrid PV-diesel, for baseload generation. To analyse this hypothesis, a techno-economic optimisation study of a PV-CSP hybrid plant with battery storage and fossil fuel backup was performed. In doing so, a methodology for the identification of optimum solar hybrid plant configurations, given current technology and costs, to best satisfy specific location weather and economic conditions was developed. Building on existing models, for the PV and CSP components, and developing models for further hybridisation, a complete PV-CSP model was created that could satisfy a baseload demand. Multi-objective optimisations were performed to identify optimal trade-offs between conflicting technical, economic and environmental performance indicators. For the given economic and technical assumptions, CSP hybridised with fossil fuel backup was shown to provide electricity at the lowest cost and have the lowest project capital expenditure. This configuration showed a 42% and 52% reduction in the levelised cost of electricity in comparison to CSP alone and hybrid PV-diesel, respectively. It also provides a 45% reduction in CAPEX in comparison to CSP alone. PV-CSP integration increases capital costs and the cost of electricity, but reduced the use of fossil fuel backup and thereby reduced emissions, when compared to CSP with fossil fuel backup. However PV-CSP showed a 97% reduction in CO2 emissions when compared to hybrid PV-diesel. Furthermore, it showed a 35% and 46% reduction in LCOE in comparison to CSP alone and hybrid PV-diesel.
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