The Future of Solar Energy ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
In the last 10 years there have been several test installations of utility scale concentrated solar thermal power plants in various locations around the world. Many of these are of the solar tower design where the sun is reflected by computer controlled mirrors to a focal point on the tower where the temperatures can reach almost as high as on the sun itself.
This energy is converted into electricity by a heat engine. The advantage of concentrated solar thermal energy is that you can easily store the heat for later conversion using simple storage technologies that exist today.
Similarity there are solar dishes that act in pretty much the same way but are considerably more scalable than the towers. The third form of concentrated solar thermal power is parabolic solar which does not have the issue of harming birds that fly nearby.
Then there is photovoltaic solar technology either silicon based or organic thin film that lately has benefited from falling prices and increasing efficiencies which is giving them an advantage at least in the short term.
In this video the Economist explores the future of solar energy around the world.
Enjoy the video.
About Gordon Smith Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.