The solar thermal sector is poised for “gigawatt-scale adoption” in 2011 despite competitive photovoltaic prices and lingering environmental and financing concerns.

According to Ernst & Young’s latest global Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices, the global solar sector grew strongly, and concentrated solar power continued its emergence. According to Cleantech Group, the top clean technology sector for venture investment in 2010 was solar, which accounted for 24%, or US$1.83 billion of the total.

Estimates released this year have indicated a bright future for the CSP sector. Management consulting and market research firm Lucintel expects the solar thermal market to reach US$17 billion by 2016. In comparison, as per Lucintel’s estimates, the wind energy market is expected to reach US$108 billion and the solar photovoltaic market US$101 billion.

The CSP sector is poised for "gigawatt-scale adoption" in 2011 despite competitive photovoltaic prices and lingering environmental and financing concerns, according to a new report, titled "Solar Thermal Update: the renaissance of concentrating solar power" from Lux Research.

However, the legacy of the global financial crisis continues to create challenges over the global renewable energy market, according to Ernst & Young’s analysis. Although new investment in clean energy reached unprecedented levels in 2010, climbing 30% to US$243 billion, some countries and technologies are finding the economic conditions deeply challenging, leaving the market in an overall state of flux.

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