Concentrated Solar Power Still out of Focus
Concentrated Solar Power, or Solar Thermal, is one of the more costlier renewable energies around and this have reflected in the low uptake of the technology.
Solar energy is something most people know about but their ideas are mainly of solar photovoltaic. This is the direct conversion of sunlight in to electricity. Photovoltaic is not the only way to harness the energy from the sun.
Head outside in summer time and everybody is going to feel the rays of the sun or more exact the heat. Quite often this becomes too uncomfortable and we head for a more cooler air conditioned environment. This heat energy is what Concentrated Solar Power is all about. Capturing that heat and turning it into usable energy.
Storing the heat of the Sun has one quite significant advantage over photovoltaic and that is the stored heat energy can be used at night. This energy storage concept may be seen in the home with some storage radiators that turn low rate electricity in to stored heat in bricks that is radiated thought the house.
To be really efficient this has to be done on a massive scale and at much higher temperatures. The concentrating part is taking the suns energy over a large area using mirrors and focusing or concentrating it all together. This the heats salt which can function at these high temperatures and keeps the energy from leaking away.
For this to be usable as electricity the heat is more often turned in to steam and the on to an electricity generator much like an ordinary power station.
Engineering a Thermal Power Station is much more costly and difficult that photovoltaic. In fact photovoltaic is so easy that many people have them installed on their residences.