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Technological Niches: Concentrated Solar Thermal vs. Photovoltaic Solar

Technological Niches: Concentrated Solar Thermal vs. Photovoltaic Solar

Concentrated solar thermal and photovoltaic solar technologies have evolved independently for decades, and both are approaching “grid-parity” power prices in many applications today. This paper will explore the different situations where each technology succeeds or fails in today’s electric power generation marketplace, specifically excluding non-electric applications such as solar hot water heating.

As of 2012, PV has come to dominate all smaller-scale solar electricity applications, while retaining the majority market share even in commercial and utility-scale applications. CSP retains a strong niche at the utility-scale and in combined heat and power applications, where no amount of PV cost reduction is expected to overcome its inherent technology advantages.


Rick Borry

CTO, Principal Solar

Rick Borry joined Principal Solar as CTO in May 2011 with their acquisition of Capstone Solar Conferences and subsequent re-branding as the Principal Solar Institute. In addition to his role at Principal Solar, Dr. Borry serves as an advisor for Solar Logic at the University of North Texas in Denton.

Dr. Borry is a co-founder of Capstone Solar, where he produced a series of online conferences around the needs of solar professionals.  While at Capstone Solar, Rick founded Webvent.tv, which is credited as the first platform to build communities around online conferences. Most recently, Rick was the Chief Software Architect for Certain Software beginning with their acquisition of his online event registration startup, Register123.com. At various stages during that tenure, Rick worked in every department while the company grew to over 150 employees around the world.

Rick earned his Doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and his B.S. from Clemson University. Rick has worked as a research associate for Dupont in Delaware and an environmental engineer for Hoechst Celanese in South Carolina.