Equivalent Breakeven Installed Cost

A Tradeoff-Informed Measure for Technoeconomic Analysis of Candidate Heliostat Improvements





Technoeconomic Analysis, Concentrating Solar Power, Heliostat Design


Technoeconomic analysis (TEA) is commonly used to determine economic viability of power-generating technologies, including concentrating solar power (CSP) and thermal (CST) production plants. Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) and analogous measures provide an estimate of long-term costs for operating power plants over their designed lifetimes by accounting for revenues and costs in a time-discounted manner. While these measures are effective when assessing a technology’s total lifecycle costs and productivity under various designs, TEA of candidate incremental technology improvements from the lens of LCOE can be limited when required investment and LCOE impacts are small. In this work, we propose a novel metric for TEA of a plant component technology that recasts relative changes in levelized system costs into component-specific capital cost budgets. This measure, which we refer to as the equivalent breakeven installed cost, is the maximum budget for the technology component that leads to improved levelized costs. We illustrate the usefulness of this metric using the example of candidate heliostat improvements for a CSP tower plant. Here, the results suggest that a reduction in mirror washing costs yield a total plant O&M cost of $37/kWe-yr, which is a breakeven proposition if the average reflectance is reduced from 0.90 to 0.85 as a result of the cost savings.


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How to Cite

Zolan, A., Augustine, C., & Armijo, K. (2024). Equivalent Breakeven Installed Cost: A Tradeoff-Informed Measure for Technoeconomic Analysis of Candidate Heliostat Improvements. SolarPACES Conference Proceedings, 1. https://doi.org/10.52825/solarpaces.v1i.783

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