Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies use mirrors to concentrate (focus) the sun’s light energy and convert it into heat to create steam to drive a turbine that generates electrical power. The plants consist of two parts: one that collects solar energy and converts it to heat, and another that converts the heat energy to electricity.
CSP is more expensive to install than the widely used conventional photovoltaic solar panels. However, it has advantage of storing of solar energy for nights and cloudy days. During the day, heat concentrated from the mirrors is also used to melt salt filled in the cylinder. This melted salt can stay hot enough at night to provide power up to 3 hours.
Types of Technologies available: CSP technology utilizes three alternative technological approaches: trough systems, power tower systems, and dish/engine systems.
- SP needs water for cooling processes, which may have a significant environmental impact in arid and semi-arid areas. Dry cooling, an established technology in conventional power plants, can already reduce water consumption by more than 90%, resulting in an increase in electricity-generation costs of 5%.
- Expensive to setup.
- Deforestation & climate impact.