RenewEconomy has an article on some online tools for assessing the financial viability of solar thermal power projects in Australia - ARENA-funded tool to calculate viability of solar thermal projects.
Hot on the heels of ARENA’s decision against supporting Alinta’s development of solar thermal power generation in Port Augusta, the federal government has launched an set of online tools, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, aimed at helping researchers, developers and financiers assess the commercial prospects of Concentrating Solar Thermal power projects in Australia.
Originally developed by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the concentrating solar thermal System Advisor Model (SAM) has been adapted for Australian conditions by the Australian Solar Thermal Energy Association (AUSTELA) through a $73,500 ARENA investment.
According to AUSTELA, the adapted SAM model is “general purpose and can predict hourly, monthly and annual output of CSP, Concentrating PV, flat plate PV and a range of other renewable energy systems” – but there has been an extensive body of work around its application to CSP systems in particular.
“Concentrating solar thermal systems have the potential to play a significant role in future electricity networks as they can store energy, which means clean energy can be dispatched to homes and businesses at anytime of the day or night,” said federal resources and energy minister Gary Gray.
“These new tools – which will optimise an industry-leading United States model for Australian conditions – will make it easier for developers and financiers to assess the commercial viability of concentrating solar thermal projects.”