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Concentrated Solar Power 2019/ key indicators

Recent Inventions / Brief Overview

Concentrated Solar Power is one of the most important developing sectors of renewable energy. Despite the slowdown of business in this sector in Spain and the USA, which happened primarily due to the rapid and widespread proliferation of more commercially-viable photovoltaic power generating systems, concentrating technologies still exist and are in the phase of adapting to modern conditions. To a great extent this is promoted by abundant inventive activity. The present review contains data on 1316 patent applications that were collected as of the date of this publication for the inventions registered in 2019 by 706 applicants from 40 countries in 38 patent offices around the world in the field related to Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). The review includes various types of concentrators. The methodology of searching and processing patent documents is provided on the Advanced Energy Technologies website.

The largest number of patent applications in 2019 was registered in the patent office of China (CNIPA) – 555, which is a little more 42% of the total number. 301 documents were filed in USPTO (US), comprising just below 15.5%. In addition to those, the top 10 popular patent offices in the world in this field included: EPO (Europe), KIPO (KR), IP Australia, JPO (JP), IMPI (Mexico), TIPO (TW), INPI (Brazil) and WIPO. In total, 92% of new patent applications in 2019 were concentrated in these patent offices.

Distribution of patent applications, published by the top 10 patent offices

Offise2019Share of total, %
State Intellectual Property Office, China55542.2
United States Patent and Trademark Office20115.3
World Intellectual Property Organization14310.9
European Patent Office927
Korean Intellectual Property Office, South Korea594.5
IP Australia 473.6
Japan Patent Office362.7
Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial292.2
Taiwan Intellectual Property Office251.9
National Institute of Industrial Property, Brazil 241.8

Residents of China and the USA remained the most active applicants in 2019 and their cumulative share exceeded 60%. They are followed by the representatives of Japan, Germany and South Korea. This year, residents of Australia also made it to the top 10 by the number of registered patent applications.

Distribution of countries of the world by the number of resident applicants in patent applications

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

The inventors were most interested in Concentrator photovoltaic technologies, which were mentioned in more than a quarter of patent documents. The more developed industrial and commercially proven technologies of Parabolic trough and Solar tower were also seriously enriched by new technical solutions of the inventors, and their total representation exceeded one third of the total number of patent documents (12.5 and 17.9% respectively).

The distribution of patent documents by technology

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

CPV - Concentrator photovoltaics; DS - Dish / Stirling; E - Experimental CSP; G - CSP in general; H - Solar heating; LFR - Linear Fresnel reflector; PT - Parabolic trough; SH - Storage CSP or Hybrid CSP; ST - Solar tower; UT - Solar updraft tower

Among technical, ecological and organizational problems, the creative efforts of the inventors were primarily aimed at solving, the following should be outlined: High costs of equipment production, High costs of repair and replacement, Low efficiency due to solar movement and High costs of maintenance.

As can be seen, almost all of them in one way or another are related to the high cost of equipment or individual technological operations. In aggregate, these problems were mentioned in more than 55% of the total number of inventors' references to any problem in the texts of patent documents (many patent applications address the solutions for two or more problems simultaneously, that's why their total number doesn’t correspond to the total number of documents).

 Distribution of technical problems in the patent applications found  

ProblemAverage ratingShare, %Total 2019
Administrative and organisational problems80.924
Environmental and social impact8381
High costs of equipment production720533
High costs in general80.514
High costs of maintenance711.1295
High costs of plant construction66.8181
High costs of repair and replacement818.9503
Low efficiency due to environmental factors74.5121
Low efficiency in general8127
Low efficiency of optics or absorber716.7445
Low efficiency of secondary equipment72.976
Low efficiency due to solar movement611.7312
Unclear problem81.849

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

More detailed information on the methodology as well as on the results of patent researches in the most important fields of contemporary energy industry can be found at Advanced Energy Technologies.