Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Nevada Solar One plant near Boulder, Nevada uses this technology. The parent company, Acciona, suggests that an energy project utilizing concentrating solar power technology deployed over an area of approximately 100 x 100 miles in the Southwest U.S. could produce enough power for the entire U.S. annually. How is this so? Because the concentration ratio is 71:1, that is 71 times the sun power.
In North Africa, at sites near the coast, sea water may be used for cooling steam power cycle, which will be distilled in the process of being rendered to steam, thus providing desalination and providing much needed drinking water. For desert locations farther away from the coast, water-saving air cooling can be used to cool the fluid medium.
Another reflector technology is the Fresnel reflector commonly used in lighthouses, where the many thin reflectors enhance the light given off by a central source. For CSP, the light capture is the reverse, concentrating the solar rays on a single point.
Cool Energy , whom I first reported on last summer, (see Ecobuildtrends 08-3-10), and who seem to be making steps toward commercialization.
These Concentrated Solar Power Technologies are commercial operations, NOT sized for residential application. Also, the yield of energy per land mass and per investment for CSP is far greater than traditional PV. Something to keep in mind when creating financial incentives, or establishing policies for net-zero. It is often far more cost-effective and sustainable to purchase power from a renewable energy source than it is to generate it on site. It may make more sense to offer incentives to building sites to reduce energy consumption, and use passive solar sources.