Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
Concentrated Solar Power is one of the key technologies for our energy future. The basic premise of CSP is that an economic advantage can be realized by concentrating solar radiation to gain higher efficiencies combined with low-cost thermal storage. In a CSP plant solar radiation is concentrated onto a smaller target by reflector fields which track the sun.
The development of Concentrating Solar Power technologies began already in the early 20th century, when Frank Shuman installed
the first parabolic trough system in Egypt in 1913. Due to the oil crisis, in early 1970s more intense research and development began in Europe and the USA.
The first commercial CSP Plants, the parabolic trough plants SEGS I to SEGS IX, were installed between 1985 and 1991 in San Bernadino, California. At the same time a first solar tower power plant was installed in Barstrow, California to prove the concept.
With the beginning of the new millennium efforts increased to develop CSP technologies as commercial power plant technologies, influenced by increasingly higher costs of fossil fuels, CO2 emission reduction target and lack of other sustainable energy sources.
Most common CSP technologies are parabolic troughs, linear fresnel reflectors and solar towers.