Concentrating Solar Power or CSP is a solar power technology that produces electricity at a minimal cost and deliver it throughout days of peak demands. This technology has the capacity to produce cheap electricity by utilizing mirrors to collect sunlight and convert it to heat. This is usually the very reason why the U.S Department of energy (DOE) wants CSP to become competitive in the intermediate power market over the year 2015. Actually, it belongs to the four subprograms belonging to the Solar Energy Technologies Program or SETP. DOE offers to make this happen by cost-shared contracts with the industry and collaborative efforts.
In CSP, mirrors are used to reflect while concentrating sunlight onto receivers that can collect the solar power and convert it to heat. This heat can be used by a steam turbine or a heat driving generator to create electricity. The resulting electricity could be sold to the market at a relatively low price. Also, this electricity can be accomplished and sold even in periods of peak demands. The general public is slowly noticing some great benefits of CSP. These are practically why DOE wishes to improve and utilize this technology.
For the economic cost saving advantages of choosing CSP, DOE is currently funding and developing the way to further operate the low-cost electricity producing solar panel technology. Currently, DOE has plans to raise the utilization of this natural elelctricity source across the nation and work it out as a competitive power source within the intermediate power market. These goals should be made into reality by the year 2015 and by the year 2020, DOE wants this natural energy source to be really competitive in the baseload power market.
The SETP program of DOE, actually looks after the strategies aiming to achieve CSP related goals. This is because it is an aspect of the four subprograms of SETP targeting towards competitive advancements of solar energy products. Other three subprograms are Photovoltaics, Market Transformation, and Systems Integration.
Through SETP, DOE levels up its CSP research, development, and deployment efforts leveraging both industry partners as well as the national laboratories. Additionally, DOE hopes to achieve CSP goals though cost-shared contracts using the industry, advanced research at its national laboratories, and collaboration compared to other government agencies and organizations to deploy this technology. Also, outside companies and research organizations have collaborative efforts with DOE in making solar energy among the best energy sources soon. Their collaborative efforts include:
- Linear Concentrator Systems - not limited Research and Development or R&D on parabolic troughs, and also on other line-focus systems like linear Fresnel reflectors.
- Dish/Engine Systems - this collaborative effort includes dish structures, mirrors, and Stirling engines.
- Power Tower Systems - links to R&D within other CSP areas which can be highly relevant to heliostats, receivers, and overall systems issues for central-receiver solar plants.
- Thermal Storage - this consists of R&D on heat transfer fluids and thermal storage materials which will advance CSP systems.
- Advanced Components and Systems - right here is the R&D revolving on the characterization and also the testing of CSP materials, components, systems, and various cross-cutting CSP technology.
Find out more about the basics of CSP operations contained in the main technology areas.
If DOE will flourish in their goals, CSP will certainly be a great addition to the sources of electricity for humans. From the year 2015, if DOE succeeds, humans can have a cheap electricity source accessible for all.