Solar power generation technologies are categorized as Concentrated Solar Thermal Power (CSP) and PhotoVoltaic (PV). AREVA’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) system is a CSP power generation technology which compares favorably with other technologies in terms of its land efficiency and environmental impact. Analysis of the costs and benefits of solar technologies can inform their design and influence environmental and economic policies.
This paper reports a comprehensive “cradle to grave” life cycle analysis (LCA) of AREVA’s CLFR technology. A unique element of this study is the availability of comprehensive inventory data from AREVA’s Reliance project, a 125 MWe Solar CLFR power plant under construction in India. Using actual project data showed the energy payback time was about 8.2 months and the greenhouse gas intensity was about 31 g-CO2/kWhe. Sensitivity analysis identified that the environmental performance is most sensitive to the solar intensity represented by direct normal irradiance. This study also compares AREVA’s CLFR technology with other leading solar power generation technologies. AREVA’s CLFR has the similar energy payback time and greenhouse gas intensity as other CSP technologies, and it has lower environmental impact compared to flat-plate PV systems.