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.