Talk:Concentrating solar power
I messed up the url link numbering somehow sorry.
Just thought I'd share the Bloomberg article on the Crescent Dunes solar plant, it was concerning.
I probably generalized something wrong, like I suppose CSP could be cheaper than PV for electricity with the inexpensive OSE heliostats (with better 3D printed optical encoders or whatever), or some other innovation or cost-cut.
I think another factor for this is economy of scale. Large solar cell production industry, too little investment in solar towers
If we had a ton in dessert areas and made ecological impact as little as possible (bird scaring air cannons, moving wildlife befor construction and/or dodging them via placement) if we had a Super Grid we could have a large portion of our energy issue solved. GRANTED that would be an international level project, so i'm getting my head in the clouds.
ANYWAYS another big point that is never taken into account is the lifespan of the componets, and the energy that goes into making them.
I need to find concrete numbers to back this up, but steam engines are commonplace, mirrors (not needing telescope level grinding etc) are easy to make and recycle. Heliostats are just motors and supports. Solar Panels Require Semiconductor level complexity (doping of componets, silica boule growth, cutting and working with semiconductos) which is doable but complex, eneregy and resource intensive, as well as hard to recycle
This also includes another point they often fail to mention. Energy Storage
Storing Heat is much easier and scales better than storing electricity.
One phone battery is fine, but a feild of them? Like Tesla's Powerpack
Granted other technologies exist, but also have losses at each conversions step, and added complexity
Solar thermal can be stored in saturated steam, or molten salts, both of which can be kept in vacuum and/or aerogel insulated containers allowing for 24/7 operation of some solar thermal plants, without batteries or NG co-fueling.
This is it's best advantage in my opinion
All in All
I think it isn't as worth it for smale scale (single suburban household) but it is almost the sole solar option for larger scale that doesn't require the same amount of cost, or storage as a photovoltaic system
I will need to get some more numbers for this. ALso perhaps determine the minimum amount of thermal storage needed for 24/7 operation.