A 101 video on concentrating solar panel systems. | Courtesy of the Energy Department
On Tuesday, October 25, the Energy Department's SunShot initiative announced a $60 million funding opportunity (FOA) to advance concentrating solar power in the United States. The SunShot program seeks to support research into technologies with potential to dramatically increase efficiency, lower costs, and deliver more reliable performance than existing commercial and near-commercial concentrating solar power (CSP) systems.
The Department expects to fund 20 to 22 projects, and we encourage industry, universities, and National Laboratories to apply. Preliminary applications are due November 22, 2011. You can learn more about this funding opportunity here.
Concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect the solar energy and convert it to heat. This thermal energy can then be used to produce electricity via a steam turbine or heat engine driving a generator. A key characteristic of CSP is the ability to store thermal heat. With storage capacities of up to several hours, CSP systems are able to produce clean electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. These utility-scale, renewable energy systems can help meet the nation’s demand for electricity—all at a relatively low cost.