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Making Solar Energy Available for High Peak Demand

February 1, 2012

Title: Enabling Greater Penetration of Solar Power via the Use of CSP with Thermal Energy Storage
Authors: Paul Denholm and Mark Mehos, NREL

At high penetration of solar generation there are a number of challenges to economically integrating this variable and uncertain resource. These include the limited coincidence between the solar resource and normal demand patterns and limited flexibility of conventional generators to accommodate variable generation resources. Of the large number of technologies that can be used to enable greater penetration of variable generators, concentrating solar power (CSP) with thermal energy storage (TES) enables this technology to shift energy production to periods of high demand or reduced solar output and provide substantial grid flexibility by rapidly changing output in response to the highly variable net load created by high penetration of solar (and wind) generation.

—Jim Leyshon