Solar energy technologies produce electricity from the energy of the sun. Small solar energy
systems can provide electricity for homes, businesses, and remote power needs. Larger solar energy systems provide
more electricity for contribution to the electric power system.
Concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that
collect solar energy and convert it to heat. This thermal energy can then be used to produce electricity via a
steam turbine or heat engine that drives a generator.
Concentrating solar power offers a utility-scale, firm, dispatchable renewable energy option that can help meet
our nation's demand for electricity. CSP plants produce power by first using mirrors to focus sunlight to heat a
working fluid. Ultimately, this high-temperature fluid is used to spin a turbine or power an engine that drives a
generator. The final product is electricity.
Solar energy is absorbed by the earth
The simplest explanation of solar energy is the ability to capture the heat generated by the sun's
rays, converting to electricity, and using it to power any type of motor, whether it be in your home or in a
The energy is concentrated using large mirrors or solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. These are
what you see on the roof of a house.
Solar radiation, often called the solar resource, is a general term for
the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun. Solar radiation can be captured and turned into useful forms of
energy, such as heat and electricity, using a variety of technologies. However, the technical feasibility and
economical operation of these technologies at a specific location depends on the available solar resource.
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