Types of Solar Thermal Power Plants


  • NLC India Limited, Neyveli-7
  • NLC India Limited, Neyveli-7




A solar thermal electricity generating system also known as solar thermal power plant is an emerging renewable energy technology, where we generate the thermal energy by concentrating and converting the direct solar radiation at medium/high temperature (300ºC – 800ºC). The resulting thermal energy is then used in a thermodynamic cycle to produce electricity, by running a heat engine, which turns a generator to make electricity. Solar thermal power is currently paving the way for the most cost-effective solar technology on a large scale and is heading to establish a cleaner, pollution free and secured future. Photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal technologies are two main ways of generating energy from the sun, which is considered the inexhaustible source of energy. PV converts sunlight directly into electricity whereas in solar thermal technology, heat from the sun's rays is concentrated to heat a fluid, whose steam powers a generator that produces electricity. It is similar to the way fossil fuel-burning power plants work except that the steam is produced by the collected heat rather than from the combustion of fossil fuels. In order to generate electricity, five major varieties of solar thermal technologies used are:

* Parabolic trough solar electric generating system (SEGS).

* Central receiver power plant.

* Solar chimney power plant.

* Dish sterling system.

* Solar pond power plant.

Most parts of India, Asia experiences a clear sunny weather for about 250 to 300 days a year, because of its location in the equatorial sun belt of the earth, receiving fairly large amount of radiation as compared to many parts of the world especially Japan, Europe and the US where development and deployment of solar technologies is maximum. Whether accompanied with this benefit or not, usually we have to concentrate the solar radiation in order to compensate for the attenuation of solar radiation in its way to earth's surface, which results in from 63,2 GW/m2 at the Sun to 1 kW/m2 at Earth's surface. The higher the concentration is, the higher the temperatures we can achieve when converting solar radiation into thermal energy.




How to Cite

Siva Sai, R., & Goverdhan Reddy, B. (2020). Types of Solar Thermal Power Plants. Indian Journal of Power and River Valley Development, 70(3&4), 53–56. https://doi.org/10.18311/ijprvd/2020/27068