First Commercial System

Ideally, to be economically competitive with conventional fossil technology, a power tower should be at least 10 times larger than Solar Two [4]. It may be possible to construct this plant directly following Solar Two, but the risk perceived by the technical and financial communities may require that a plant of intermediate size (30-50 MW) be constructe d first. The World Bank will consider requests for funding power tower projects following a successful two-yea r operation of Solar Two. However, countries interested in the technology have indicated they may need to see a utility-scale plant operating in the U.S. before they will include power towers in their energy portfolio. Since the electricit y cost of a stand-alone 30 MW solar-only plant will be significantly higher than the fossil competition, innovativ e financing options or subsidies need to be developed to support this mid-size project. Fossil hybridization designs ar e also being explored as another possible way of aiding market entry (see hybrid discussion in Section 2). The benefit s of the reduced size plant include reduced scale-up risk and reduced capital investment.

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