Concentrating solar power (CSP)

Tracking Clean Energy Progress

Not on track

Concentrating solar power (CSP) generation increased by an estimated 8% in 2018. Nevertheless, CSP is not on track with the SDS, which requires annual average growth of almost 26% through 2030. Policy design that emphasises CSP plant storage value will be key to attract additional investment.

Heymi Bahar
Lead author

Concentrating solar power (CSP) generation

	Historical	Forecast	SDS
2000	0.5		
2001	0.6		
2002	0.6		
2003	0.5		
2004	0.6		
2005	0.6		
2006	0.6		
2007	0.7		
2008	0.9		
2009	0.9		
2010	1.6		
2011	2.9		
2012	4.7		
2013	5.9		
2014	8.4		
2015	9.6		
2016	10.5		
2017	11.0		
2018	11.9		
2019		18.0	
2020		20.7	
2021		23.3	
2022		28.3	
2023		30.7	
2025			53.8
2030			183.8
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Back to Renewables sector | TCEP overview 🕐 Last updated Friday, May 24, 2019

Tracking progress

In 2018, 600 MW of CSP capacity were added – the largest annual expansion since 2013 and five times more than in 2017.

China and Morocco led the growth by each commissioning 200 MW. Three projects became operational in China, while one single project in Morocco (Noor II) began producing electricity. In addition, the 100‑MW Ilanga project in South Africa, awarded in 2013, also became operational.

In contrast with 2011‑17, when electricity generation from CSP increased an average 25% per year as total global capacity tripled, in 2018 it rose by only an estimated 8% despite record-level additions. Full-load hours were low in the second half of the year because new capacity was being commissioned, and generation in Spain (the largest contributor) fell 10% due to weaker performance of its fleet. Annual capacity expansion needs to reach 2 GW per year by 2025 and 8 GW by 2030.

Medium-term prospects for CSP

CSP is forecast to grow by 4.3 GW during 2018‑23. China leads at 1.9 GW, followed by 1 GW from projects receiving multilateral development bank support in Morocco and South Africa, 1 GW in the Middle East and 300 MW in Australia and Chile.

Spain and the United States, the two countries with the most installed capacity, are not expected to commission projects over the forecast period, so China overtakes the United States to have the second-largest CSP installed base by 2023.

Recent auction results indicate significant cost reduction potential, but technology risks, restricted access to financing, long project lead times and market designs that do not value storage continue to challenge CSP deployment.

CSP growth is forecast to come mostly from emerging economies, especially China, Morocco and South Africa, where the largest plants with longer storage hours are expected to come online. Although China has introduced an ambitious target of 5 GW by 2020 with several pilot projects, deployment has been slow.

Additional resources