Aug 242009

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

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

How Concentrated Solar Power 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 fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

You may be surprised to learn that in the USA, several CSP power plants are already up and running – and that they have performed reliably for the past 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 modern 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. These heliostats are set up so that they follow the movement of the sun, thus maintaining the strongest reflecting power possible.

Anna Williams is a webmaster and a blogger, who helps others understand solar power and clean energy solutions. Visit her website to learn more about Concentrated Solar Energy, and to find a lot more information on Solar Power Products and Technologies.

Article originally published at Concentrated Solar Power

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 Posted by at 9:33 am