Thermal energy received by using concentrated MicroCSP™ generates high temperature working fluid to drive either an organic Rankine cycle power block, that includes a turbine and generator, or other thermally driven engines.
Conventional fixed PV panels have an energy conversion efficiency of about 15%. In contrast, efficiencies ranging from 20% to 40% are possible using solar thermal power plants. Solar thermal systems convert the sun’s energy to heat using parabolic solar concentrators that track the sun. The heat energy is used in a conventional steam-fired power plant or in an organic Rankine cycle system to generate electricity. Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is well-suited to smaller, distributed installations in the kilowatt range, such as residential and commercial roof-tops. Solar thermal is more suited for large-scale, industrial/commercial as well as utility-scale energy generation in the megawatt and larger range.