R&D investments in concentrating solar power (CSP)
An interpretation of the R&D investments broken down per technology as shown in the following needs to take into account the associated uncertainties described in section 'Analysis of uncertainties'. In specific cases these may be higher than the actual differences in the R&D investments between individual technologies, therefore impeding a direct comparison between different sectors.
CSP-related research spending (approx. €86 million) was relatively limited in 2007 compared with other SET-Plan priority technologies, reflecting the fact that interest in this field has started growing again only relatively recently. The potential locations of CSP plants are focused in the countries around the Mediterranean and as such, it is not surprising that public R&D support is dominated by Italy and Spain, accounting for more than three quarters of the aggregated EU Member States funds (see Figure 14).
The German contribution to CSP-research amounts to another 18% of the EU Member States' public aggregated investment, which may be explained by the strong position of German industry in this technological field. This means that three Member States i.e. Italy, Spain and Germany account for around 95% of the total public R&D investment in this technology. It is noted, however, that these figures may not fully reflect CSP-related R&D spending in French national R&D centres.
The EU support to CSP-related R&D activities through FP6 funds as assessed in the present report reached €20 million over the FP6 duration (or €5 million on an annual average). This figure is slightly below the investments of €25 million published in European Commission (2007d), which can partly be explained by the fact that some CSP-related projects have been allocated to other SET-Plan priority technologies in order to avoid double counting.
Corporate R&D investments (around €50 million) accounted for 56% of the overall spending, led by companies based in Spain and Germany, followed by Italian and French companies. Spanish and German companies are the main actors involved in the ongoing demonstration projects launched in Spain, supported by the national feed-in programme. The estimation of the corporate R&D investment relies on the assessment of 18 larger companies for which data could be obtained. The assumptions for these companies have been checked with and revised in line with an in-depth assessment of this sector (Haug et al., 2009), which also provided aggregated information on a number of smaller companies that were as well included in the present assessment. As a consequence, the estimation of corporate R&D investments of this report, which can be considered as a low estimate, is rather well in line with the findings of €52.5 million in Haug et al. (2009). The uncertainties related with the estimation of R&D investments for the year 2006 do not allow for an indication of the trend in corporate R&D investments in this sector.
Figure 14: Approximate R&D investment in CSP from industry and public sectors
Source: Own analysis based on IEA RD&D statistics and official information from some Member States; FP6; EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard
Note: Some EU Member States are not IEA member and do thus not figure in the database; for others no data are available. R&D investments for Austria cannot be displayed at the current scale of the chart.