Friday, January 16, 2009

Concentrated Solar Power

A recent The Economist article discussed innovation in solar power in the Western United States. The article mentions concentrating solar power (CSP) as a promising solution to the energy crisis facing the United States as energy prices continue to surge due to Middle East and global terror concerns and a lack of readily accessible alternative energy sources. CSP systems use mirrors to channel sunlight. This sunlight heats a fluid to a high temperature whereupon it turns a turbine. CSP is a source of large-scale power that is inexpensive and stores energy that can be used after sundown. CSP is found on large solar farms (see picture above ,) such as the one in California's Mojave desert that was built in the 1980s. It churns out enough power for 900,000 homes.Despite this energy efficiency, CSP has not been put to use again until recently with the opening of another solar plant in Nevada.

Source: The Economist