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A Comparative Analysis of Energy Costs of Photovoltaic, Solar Thermal, and Wind Electricity Generation Technologies

Author(s): Michael Dale

Journal: Applied Sciences
ISSN 2076-3417

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 325;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: renewable energy | solar photovoltaic | concentrating solar power | wind power | life-cycle assessment | LCA | meta-analysis | technology assessment | net energy analysis

Global installed capacity of renewable energy technologies is growing rapidly. The ability of renewable technologies to enable a rapid transition to a low carbon energy system is highly dependent on the energy that must be “consumed” during their life-cycle. This paper presents the results of meta-analyses of life-cycle assessments (LCA) of energy costs of three renewable technologies: solar photovoltaic (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), and wind. The paper presents these findings as energetic analogies with financial cost parameters for assessing energy technologies: overnight capital cost, operating costs and levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). The findings suggest that wind energy has the lowest energy costs, followed by CSP and then PV.
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