Power Tower Costs

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Paul Gilman
Power Tower Costs

I right in assuming that the cost figures given in the example central receiver case do not include the cost of capital, but just refer to the cost of building the plant? If so can you indicate in very approximate terms what the cost of capital typically adds to the final cost of big projects like this?

Also, what does the item "Indirect costs" refer to in the cost stack?

The default cost values in SAM do not represent actual costs -- they are roughly representative of a project's cost, and intended to help get you started using the model. The values were not determined based on an analysis of typical costs.

You would typically want to include the cost of capital in a SAM analysis to ensure that the levelized cost of energy and other metrics reflected the actual cost of developing and operating the project.

One source of information on Power Tower costs is the Sargent and Lundy report mentioned on the SAM website (scroll to the bottom of the page): https://www.nrel.gov/analysis/sam/cost_data.html.

The following fact sheet from SolarPaces also has some discussion of costs, although not in much detail: http://www.solarpaces.org/CSP_Technology/docs/solar_tower.pdf.

The indirect costs are costs that you specify on SAM's System Costs page. The cost categories help you account for different costs, but SAM's financial model considers the total installed cost to be the sum of all capital costs that you specify on the System Costs page.

I am hoping you can clarify a little further re cost of capital; not too sure I understand what you said.

In general, the costs on the System Costs page are Year 1 costs. SAM assumes that the "total installed cost" applies at the beginning of the project, and that financing costs specified on the Financing page and O&M costs specified on the System Costs page apply in each year of the analysis period.

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