What is CSP Solar Energy?

“CSP” stands for “Concentrated Solar Power” and refers to the type of solar power which is created by concentrating sunlight into a small area, thus creating intense light and heat which can in turn create power and electricity.  Concentrated Solar Power is one of the technologies which has been developed in order to harness the energy emitted by the sun and turn it into useable electricity.

The main difference between concentrated solar power (CSP) systems and other solar energy systems (such as photovoltaics and solar heating), is that concentrated solar power uses mirrors and reflectors in order to focus sunlight on a concentrated location.

– How CSP Solar Energy Systems Work

A simple but accurate comparison to CSP solar energy is the use of a magnifying lens to focus sunlight on a specific area.  But the target of a CSP system is to heat fluids, not ants or other luckless insects.

The fluids heated by this concentrated solar energy are then turned into steam. The steam is in turn forced through a fan, and is used to drive a regular steam turbine, which uses its turning motion to generate electricity through electromagnetic means.

One of the advantages of concentrated solar power is that it is completely compatible with the contemporary power generators which are used in conventional power plants.  But in the case of CSP solar energy, the “fuel” used to generate steam is sunlight, not oil or coal.

You may be surprised to learn that in the United States, several CSP power plants are already up and running, and they have performed reliably for the last fifteen years.

At the time of this writing, the least expensive method of using solar power to produce electricity is the to use concentrated solar power systems.

Research and development projects are underway, with the aim of reducing costs even further, so that the cost of producing electricity with solar power can eventually compete with the costs of energy production in conventional power plants.

CSP Solar Energy is just one of many methods of generating solar power and alternative energy on a broad scale.  Another example of broad scale solar power production is the use of solar power towers, which use an assortment of moving mirrors (called heliostats) to continuously reflect sunlight into a central area at the top of the tower.  The heliostats are set up so that they move with the movement of the sun, thus maintaining optimal reflecting power.

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Learn more about solar power at http://www.findportablesolarpower.com.
Learn more about solar towers at http://www.squidoo.com/solartowers

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8 Responses to “What is CSP Solar Energy?”

  1. Anthony November 23, 2008 at 7:33 am #

    Interesting post, but did you know that the first CSP solar dish engine was made almost a 100 years ago? Pretty outrageous if you ask me. Wonder why it always seems to take centuries for the really good ideas to catch on, whereas it only seems to take seconds for expensive, damaging and unhealty ideas to gain widespread popularity (i.e. fossil fuels).

  2. Jim@Lombard Pest Control January 12, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    Good Post. @Anthony, i like to blame gov’t and lobbyists for keeping good tech. down. money talks, and can keep things from talking. I’m glad its finally getting a foothold finally.

  3. las vegas luxury real estate September 10, 2009 at 6:41 am #

    CSP takes me back to the school days where we used to concentrate Sun’s energy on to the paper while using a magnifying glass so that we could get to burn it hehe. I think using natural methods available to human being such as generating electricity from the Sun are very effective and since they’re natural, they also help our environment a lot. One other thing is to consider now that Ozone Layer is getting weaker, I read few days ago that Scientists are thinking to put a huge glass infront of Earth in Space to protect it from the dangerous rays of Sun. While getting the maximum benefit from Sun, we’ve to make sure we don’t lose our goal for cutting down pollution so we can stay safe from the harmful radiations of Sun as Ozone Layer is getting weaker because of the pollution we’re generating.

  4. Donald @ Las Vegas Real Estate June 16, 2010 at 4:51 am #

    Sort of like the energy that’s created through a magnifying glass no?

  5. Bobbie June 26, 2010 at 3:37 am #

    I don’t see why they don’t stick a bunch of solar panels up in space and start beaming power to earth.

  6. Houston Pest Control January 10, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Anna, thanks for this info. Based on the date of this post I’d be interested to see what recent developments have been made with CSP but looks like it has promise.

  7. pestcontrolsuperstore March 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    We got some photovoltaic panels and I ask the guy if I could put some white plastic in the gaps to reflect more light in and he said no as it could cause the panel to get too hot , any thoughts on this?

  8. Michael April 7, 2011 at 1:15 am #

    Is it true that the CSP provide contribution to the generate need for low price electricity? I’ll bookmarked it for future reference, thanks

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