CONCENTRATING SOLAR POWER (CSP)
CSP concentrating the solar light into mirrors allows to convert the sun’s energy into high-temperature heat.
The heat is generated through the use of pipeline behind the mirrors where a heat transfer fluid (HTF) circulates. The temperature of HTF reaches 400° Celsius and the heat is transformed into energy using a turbine.
Standard size of CSP plants varies from 10 to 150MW. The need of the land is about 5Ha per MW installed.
Some systems use thermal storage during cloudy periods or at night. Others can be combined with natural gas and the resulting hybrid power plants provide high-value, despatchable power. These attributes, along with world record solar-to-electric conversion efficiencies, make concentrating solar power an attractive renewable energy option in the Sunbelt regions worldwide.
The amount of power generated by a concentrating solar power plant depends on the amount of direct sunlight, in fact this technology uses only direct-beam sunlight, rather than diffuse solar radiation.
CSP systems are marketed mainly to utilities as they take up a fair amount of land and require mechanical maintenance.
The main technologies are the Parabolic Trough Systems, which accounts for about 90% of the installed CSP base, and the Power Tower Systems represents 10%.