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Obama $8 billion solar Betamax unwinds

Betamax was superior to VHS. But VHS won in the marketplace. Bloomberg says the same is happening with Concentrated Solar Power vs. photovoltaic panels.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is looking more and more like a dead-end, as the Chinese back traditional photovoltaic and $8 billion of such projects planned for the US may switch to photovoltaic too.

The primary reason is price. Photovoltaic panels have plunged in price while CSP, which reflects the heat of the sun to a central tower to power turbines remains costly even as CSP has a huge advantage because it can store power as heat in molten salt to be used later.

But even biggies like Solar Millennium are switching to PV. “If Solar Millennium, a major developer that has the technology, can’t do it with a loan guarantee, then it’s not clear who could,” said an industry observer.

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