Concentrated Solar Power

Concentrated solar power (CSP) systems use mirrors to focus a large area of sunlight onto a much smaller area. When the concentrated light is converted into heat, it drives a heat engine connected to an electrical power generator. CSP systems are considered a promising solar power technology for large-scale power generation. When CSP is coupled with thermal energy storage (TES), it is capable of producing constant power (baseload) for up to 24 hours a day, making it well suited for integration with the electricity grid.

Masdar has developed different types of concentrated solar power systems. The 100-megawatt (MW) Shams 1 plant uses a parabolic trough system, which concentrates sunlight onto oil-filled pipes.The oil is heated and this heat, in turn, produces steam, which drives a conventional steam turbine. 

Masdar’s 20MW Gemasolar plant in Spain uses an array of reflectors, or heliostats, that reflect sunlight onto a central receiver, which stores heat as molten salt. This, in turn, generates steam, which drives a steam turbine. Gemasolar was the world’s first utility-scale solar power plant to combine a central tower receiver system and molten salt storage technology, enabling power generation 24 hours a day.