In an interesting approach to furthering concentrating solar technology (CSP), the Department of Energy announced $20 million in funding to integrate CSP with fossil fuel power plants.
Fossil fuel plants have the basic infrastructure that's also used for CSP, such as turbine and transmission systems. Combining the two in hybrid power plants will more quickly bring CSP plants online as well as reduce their costs.
Between 11 gigawatts and 21 gigawatts of CSP could be built and integrated into existing US fossil fuel plants, enough to power 3 million to 6 million homes.
By getting more CSP built now, it would also likely spur innovations across that supply chain and bring costs down more.
Projects selected for funding will work to design, build, and test cost-competitive integrated CSP-fossil fuel power generating systems. Industry, universities, and national labs can apply for the funds, which will provide 25% of the total project cost.
The funding is part of DOE's SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national effort to make solar energy costs competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.