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5. • The seven warmest years over the last 130 were recorded during the past 11 years. emissions of carbon dioxide in solar-only operation of a solar thermal plant – the main gas responsible for global climate change (see panel “Climate change and fuel choices”). If additional fossil fuel is used to back peak-load operation, in proportion to the solar share achieved, emissions are still significantly lower.

Mexico Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) issued a RfP in March 2002 for a 250 MW gas-fired combined cycle plant with an optional integrated parabolic trough solar field of at least 25 MW electrical output. The incremental solar costs should be covered by a grant from GEF. As investor’s response to this concept was very limited, it was decided in 2003 that an EPC scheme with CFE as the GEF grant recipient should be pursued. The solar field would no longer be an option but compulsory.

Commercially available – over 12 billion kWh of operational experience; operating temperature potential up to 500°C (400°C commercially proven) • Good mid-term prospects for high conversion efficiencies, operating temperature potential beyond 1,000°C (565°C proven at 10 MW scale) • Very high conversion efficiencies – peak solar to net electric conversion over 30% • Storage at high temperatures • Hybrid operation possible • Hybrid operation possible • Operational experience of first demonstration projects • Projected annual performance values, investment and operating costs still need to be proven in commercial operation • Reliability needs to be improved • Commercially proven annual net plant efficiency of 14% (solar radiation to net electric output) • Commercially proven investment and operating costs Advantages • Modularity • Modularity • Best land-use factor of all solar technologies • Lowest materials demand • Hybrid concept proven • Storage capability • The use of oil-based heat transfer media restricts operating temperatures today to 400°C, resulting in only moderate steam qualities Disadvantages • Projected cost goals of mass production still need to be achieved PARABOLIC TROUGH SYSTEMS Technology developments Parabolic trough systems represent the most mature solar thermal power technology, with 354 MWe connected to the Southern California grid since the 1980s and over 2 million square metres of parabolic trough collectors operating with a long term availability of over 99%.

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