Centralized Solar Power CSP
Exploring the exhaustible source of energy – either by direct transformation of radiant energy into electricity or by indirect energy production via, conventional steam turbines, wind, waves, etc. – seems to be the obvious way to go. In this context solar radiation measurements are of primary interest for applications like site-specific solar resource assessments, PV performance evaluation or solar resource forecasting. However, as with most real-world measurement systems, the difficulties are in the details. Site selection for CPV plants is crucial and one of the driving applications for using EKO Instruments solar sensors during the assesment stage. The EKO sun tracker with combined DNI sensor offers the most reliable solution creating bankable date.
Centralized Solar power or thermal solar was applied long before other techniques became available. Nowadays solar collector systems are much more advanced and efficient to effectively transfer solar power into heat used for fluid heating, cooling en electrical energy.
Compared to the previous methods the arguments for solar thermal is usually: Higher quality of the produced electricity (Less abrupt spikes from clouds blocking the sun). Some of the technologies can store thermal energy to be used when the sun is blocked. Ability to capture a larger part of the solar light spectrum like infra red, enables higher efficiency. The high temperatures that are used to produce steam for the Concentrated solar power turbines can be achieved with a secondary plant based on natural gas or other biofuels and can be used during night and in the winter as backup.
With CSP high temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors or lenses to create steam
used for electric power production. CSP is not a photovoltaic technology. CSP plants utilize the same
approach as traditional electrical generation plants, but replace fossil fuels with sunlight in driving the steam turbines. While CSP has maturity in the market and has shown reasonably low-cost solar electricity generation in large-installations, there are drawbacks. Installations need to be large in scale – around 100MW or more in size – and deployment time is lengthy. Land use is extensive and disruption of the land significant. As a concentrating technology, CSP needs to be located in high sun areas with large land areas, such as deserts.