Overview of Concentrated Solar Power
Journal of Energy and Power Engineering
CSP (concentrated solar power) has been viewed as the technology that if properly developed could lead to a large scale conversion of solar energy into electricity. CSP is a type of solar energy converter that is classified as thermal converter because the output power produced is a function of the operating temperature. The main components of a CSP plant are the solar field which is made up of the heliostat arrays, the receiver tower, the heat transfer fluid, the molten salt thermal energy
... age tanks and the power conversion unit, which is made up of the turbine and the generator. The main advantage of CSP is that of a cheap thermal storage (i.e., molten salt storage) which makes it possible to dispatch power at a cost comparable to the grid electricity. Simulations run with the SAM (systems advisory model) developed by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) showed that CSP is capable of delivering electricity at the cost of 17UScents per kWh for the 30-year life of the plant. The main disadvantage of CSP however, is that of low efficiency (8%-16%). There are ongoing research works to improve the efficiency of the CSP. One way to improve the efficiency is to increase the operating temperature of the system. In this paper, the authors discussed different modules of the CSP plant and suggested ways to improve on the conversion efficiencies of individual modules. Finally, an overall systems performance simulation is carried using SAM and the simulation results show that electricity can be produced using CSP at the cost of R1.05 per kWh.