Solar Power Plants

The Different Types of Solar Power Plants

Solar power plants usually use reflectors to aim sunlight into a heat absorber.

There are different types of solar power plants, some are:

  • Heliostat mirror power plants use an array of mirrors to aim the sun's rays to a tower, where the energy is transported from the tower and stored in a liquid, usually sodium. This heat is then used to make steam to turn turbine engines.
  • A parabolic trough power plant is another type of plant. It is a solar thermal collector. It has a trough, like a rain gutter that has a hose or pipe running through it. Sunlight is bounced off the mirror and at the pipe or hose, heating the liquid inside the tube. This heated liquid can be used to run turbine engines, also.
  • A parabolic reflector power plant is like a giant satellite dish, except the inside surface of the dish is mirrored. It focuses all the light on a single point and can achieve very high temperatures. They are usually used with engines to obtain mechanical energy directly.
  • A solar chimney is a power plant where air passes under a very large "greenhouse' type of building. The air is heated and channeled upward where it then turns turbine engines, which generate electricity.




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