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Appl. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 325-337; doi:10.3390/app3020325
Article

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

Global Climate & Energy Project, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Received: 31 December 2012 / Revised: 13 February 2013 / Accepted: 5 March 2013 / Published: 25 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Energy)
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Abstract

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.
Keywords: renewable energy; solar photovoltaic; concentrating solar power; wind power; life-cycle assessment; LCA; meta-analysis; technology assessment; net energy analysis renewable energy; solar photovoltaic; concentrating solar power; wind power; life-cycle assessment; LCA; meta-analysis; technology assessment; net energy analysis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Dale, M. A Comparative Analysis of Energy Costs of Photovoltaic, Solar Thermal, and Wind Electricity Generation Technologies. Appl. Sci. 2013, 3, 325-337.

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