Overview of the current status of CSP in Europe: An R&D point of view and reflections on the commercial roll out

Dr Diego Martinez Plaza Director´s Office Plataforma Solar de Almería-CIEMAT Almeria, Spain

Dr Diego Martinez Plaza
Director´s Office
Plataforma Solar de Almería-CIEMAT
Almeria, Spain

By Dr Diego Martinez Plaza, Director´s Office, Plataforma Solar de Almería-CIEMAT, Almeria, Spain
Deployment of CSP technology is facing an exciting time. While other renewable energy technologies like wind or photovoltaics have already reached a considerable market penetration and bankability, CSP is striving not to lag behind.
The main assets to get to the avant-garde are mainly two: the dispatchability, shaped through the availability of cheap thermal energy storage solutions, and the huge cost reduction potential just envisaged from the top of the ‘learning curve’ where we are now.
Efforts are being carried out within the R&D and the industrial communities.
The European R&D community is involved in several associative initiatives, generally under the European Commission’s umbrella, trying to optimize efforts and the use of resources like, for instance, large research infrastructures. In this field, the ‘EU-SOLARIS’ project is the preparatory phase leading to the further establishment of the joint European CSP research infrastructure with participation of all European R&D institutes owning relevant facilities.
Concerning market deployment of this technology, the industry is building new plants in a number of countries contributing to balance the current standstill in Europe. New plants under construction can be found in Morocco, USA, Chile, People’s Republic of China, India or South Africa, while there are promising new developments announced in the UAE or Saudi Arabia. Multilateral institutions like the Asian Development Bank or the World Bank are giving strong support to this in the way of consultancy grants or loans for project finance.
This speech will give an overview of all these activities in order to depict what’s going on in both, the R&D and the commercial scenarios for CSP.


Born in 1964 in Almería (Spain), he holds a doctoral degree in Engineering from University of Seville (Spain) since 2013.
Since September 1990 to October 2012 working at Plataforma Solar de Almeria (PSA), an R&D centre on solar thermal technologies, belonging to CIEMAT, an institute holding of the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation. He’s been Director of this centre since 2003 to 2012.
Since October 2012 to December 2015 he’s been working as Principal Investigator for Qatar Foundation at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), dealing with performance assessment of PV modules under desert environmental conditions.
He’s author or co-author of 35 papers/book chapters in peer-reviewed scientific journals, with 70+ contributions to scientific congresses and has participated in 30+ R&D projects of national and international partnership. (Role of coordinator in 19)
He’s been the Chairman of the Joint Program on Concentrating Solar Power (JP CSP) at the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) since 2009 to 2012 and also a permanent member of the Executive Committee of the Joint European Laboratory for Research on Solar Thermal Energy. (Sol LAB).
He’s been also Chairman of the symposium ‘Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems’ twice, SolarPACES 2011 held in Granada (Spain) and SolarPACES 2006 (Seville).