Concentrated Solar Power – market, barriers and prospects
21 February 2018
Solar energy provides one of the largest and most widely distributed renewable energy resources available on earth. RCG looks at one of the renewable technologies aimed at converting sunlight into energy; Concentrated Solar Power (CSP).
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) systems convert sunlight into thermal energy to generate electricity. They typically employ mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight from a large area onto a focal point or plane, resulting in the rapid warming of a heat transfer medium. The heat contained within this medium is then used to feed a steam cycle that drives a turbine to produce electricity.
A range of CSP technologies and systems have been deployed, both through research and development projects and commercial installations. Unlike Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems which can also produce electricity from diffuse light under cloudy conditions, CSP systems require direct sunlight to concentrate sunlight onto a focal area. Therefore, the technical and economic suitability of CSP systems is constrained by geography. This is a significant factor in determining the potential market for CSP.