Big solar: Utility-scale power plants arise
Posted by Martin LaMonica 1 comment
When it comes to solar these days, it’s go big or go home.
Utilities are being pushed to use more renewable energy, heating up the business of large-scale solar power. Click here for related photo gallery.
There are competing designs for utility-scale solar farms. By concentrating light to make steam, some designs use heat to generate electricity. In parallel, other companies concentrate light onto photovoltaic cells to generate electricity.
Click on the image to view a photo gallery of different utility-scale solar technologies.
The latter, known as concentrating photovoltaic CPV systems, may make more sense in a broader set of geographies, compared with concentrating solar thermal. Both forms of concentrating solar power are meant to improve on sun-tracking flat panels.
Which technological approach will win out isn’t clear yet, but the demand for centralized solar-power generation systems is there.
Prometheus Institute forecasts that 50 gigawatts of electricity could be generated this way by 2020. Currently, there 430 megawatts worth of concentrating solar power systems installed around the world, according to Emerging Energy Research.