PV, on the other hand, is incapable of producing or storing thermal energy since they directly generate electricity. How solar PV works. CSP systems will need to demonstrate high performance in all three attributes, competitive thermal-energy-storage costs, energy dispatch-ability and reliability as an ancillary solution, in order to remain attractive and competitive against Photovoltaic panels. Determining the relative efficiency of photosynthesis and photovoltaics is not a … Hence, a homeowner’s choice can come down to roof design, budget (which is better now because of the 3% GDP growth rate), commitment to new technology, and individual preference. And so far, there are two technologies that are used nowadays to generate solar power. Incredibly, over an eight year span (from 2006 to 2014), worldwide average solar panel module prices have dropped over 75% from $3.25 per watt to about $.72 per watt. Moreover, PV panels have demonstrated a substantial price drop, claimed to be in the rage of 30%-40% (for the past couple of years) and some expect they will continue to drop. After all, once people realized that the sun can be used to generate electricity, they would understandably find ways on how to do it. Basically, both CSP and natural gas are attractive forms of generating energy because of their ability to be dispatchable. With all these comparisons between Concentrated Solar Power and Photovoltaic, one would get the idea that these two are competing against each other. In previous article “Solar Energy facts – basic solar energy systems” we have reviewed how Solar energy systems can be classified into three main categories – solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and passive solar systems. This project cost around $2.5 billion, and it includes 9 million CdTe photovoltaic modules based on thin-film technology. …the solar PV panels are on my property but not on my roof? To answer these questions, it’s better that we compare and contrast these two technologies to see how they differ and what advantages and disadvantages do they offer. When it was completed back in 2015, it was considered as the world’s largest solar farm with a generating capacity of 579 MW. And the fact that natural gas is the preferred option poses a big problem for all of us. Solar PV. It is operated and maintained by SunPower Services, and it uses about 1.7 million solar panels, spread over a total area of 3,200 acres. Furthermore, since CSP systems are able to produce excess energy and store it for future use, they can help improve the financial performance and also the sharing ability of solar power and flexibility in the power network. A solar energy system can absolutely help you insulate yourself against these fluctuations and increases. Thus CSP with TES may not necessarily be perceived as a competitor of PV systems but as a complementary enabler for large scale PV installations. Concentrated Solar Thermal systems (CSP), are not the same as Photovoltaic panels; CSP systems concentrate radiation of the sun to heat a liquid substance which is then used to drive a heat engine and drive an electric generator. This means that solar panels are only effective during daylight hours because storing electricity is not a particularly efficient process. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. The total cost of this project is expected to be around $9 billion. Since CSP absorbs the sun’s heat to generate electricity, it can be dispatched whenever it’s needed. These solar panels are form-factor, high-wattage, high-efficiency, higher-cost crystalline silicon modules that are mounted on single-axis trackers. Construction for this project began in November 2011 and ended on November 2014. There are many examples of this, but the energy source that CSP is really strongly battling against is natural gas. To begin with, Concentrated Solar Thermal systems (CSP) produce electric power by converting the sun’s energy into high-temperature heat using various mirror configurations. As we have already established earlier, CSP makes electricity by using the sun’s heat primarily. There are three main factors that energy markets consider when deciding on power sources: cost of energy, ancillary services, and power dispatch-ability on demand. The “solar power tower” is a catchy name for (one of the options) of harvesting solar energy today. A residential solar energy system that uses polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar panels prices will cost about $3 per watt or about $18,000 for a standard 6 kW system. It’s true that natural gas emits lower emissions during power generation than coal, but methane still leaks during the drilling and the transporting. This technology uses computer-controlled mirrors spread over thousands of hectares to reflect sun beams towards the solar power station where water is heated to high temperatures to create steam and produce electricity with a generator. There are three major types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film.Each type has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the solar panel type best suited for your installation will depend on factors specific to your own property and desired system characteristics. They may actually merge together and work as one to increase solar energy penetration into the power industry. To begin with, natural gas is not safe for the environment — just like the other fossil fuels. Concentrated Solar Power or Photovoltaic? Related article: Top Solar Statistics You Need to Know in 2019. PV systems, on the other hand, do not produce or store thermal energy as they directly generate electricity – and electricity cannot be easily stored (e.g. Required fields are marked *. The plant has a gross capacity of 392 MW, and it deploys 173,500 heliostats, each with two mirrors focusing solar energy on boilers located on three centralized solar power towers. Nowadays, there are two technologies that dominate the solar power industry: the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic (PV). Photovoltaic, or PV energy conversion, on the other hand, directly converts the sun's light into electricity. They absorb raw energy from the sun and use it to create usable energy. Because they may be more efficient and able to store a lot of energy for future use, but if they also cost a fortune, no one would want to invest in them. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is a concentrated solar thermal plant located in the Mojave Desert in the United States. As long as energy price of PV plants is less than the Energy price of equivalent CSP , and continue to decline, PV will remain a preferable solution over CSP for energy investors. When you evaluate solar panels for your photovoltaic (PV) system, you will encounter two main categories of panel options: monocrystalline solar panels (mono) and polycrystalline solar panels (poly). The way this works is that the solar PV cells absorb light, which will then knock electrons loose. After the direct electric current is generated, it is then converted into AC, usually using inverters, so that it will be distributed on the power network. Related Article: Top 10 Technological Breakthroughs in the Solar Industry. Solar engineers use a multitude of criteria for to design, engineer, and manufacture solar panels. Solar PV’s advantages include: Although CSP is obviously the more efficient one in terms of energy saving, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option. These two may be similar in that they both use the sun in order to generate power. What this actually means is that CSP with capabilities of Thermal Energy Storage can be used as a complementary solution to overcome intermittency issues of other renewable energy technologies as solar Photovoltaic panels (PV) and Wind turbines. And though between the two, CSP is the safer and better option, natural gas still wins because its prices are way more affordable than CSP’s. This trend of investors choosing PV over CSP will continue so long as PV remains cheaper. In review of the latest developments in renewable, solar energy technologies one can establish that the answer to this question is rather controversial. [1,2] With all of this attention given to solar, one has to wonder which solar technology is the most efficient, solar thermal or photovoltaic, and … Solar Star is a solar photovoltaic power station located in Rosamond, California. Nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission (nucleus splits into two smaller, lighter nuclei), nuclear deca… However, all these debates — of which is better the option — are pointless because they don’t have to compete against each other. But what is the difference between these two? 3 There are few types of them - Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Thin-film solar panels. With an installed capacity of 510 MW, it is the largest concentrated solar power pant of the whole world. Simply put, nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat, which is most frequently used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant. Instead, it is competing with natural gas. Your email address will not be published. Monocrystalline panel efficiencies can range from 17% to 22%. The Longyangxia Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam that was initially built for hydroelectric power generation, irrigation, ice control, and flood control. Solar photovoltaic panels produce electricity, while solar thermal systems produce heat. Solar energy is the sun's radiation that reaches Earth. Copyright 2020 PROTERMOSOLAR | All Rights Reserved |, Cubico refinances 100 MW of Spanish concentrated solart power, Cubico expands Spanish Concentrated Solar Power portfolio to 250 MW, Botswana to build 200 MW of Concentrated Solar Power, US Concentrated Solar Power valve leap boosts prospects for hotter plants, Low-cost liquid metal coating for concentrated solar power (CSP) polymeric mirrors. In fact, according to the latest research activity at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, TES can supposedly increase the penetration of solar or wind power — which are intermittent renewable energy technologies — into the power industry. The combined capacity of all nine solar power plants is 354 MW, thus making SEGS as one of the world’s largest solar thermal energy generating facilities. Which solar energy technology will prevail? Both of these technologies are greatly influenced by the unpredictability and instability of environmental conditions, placing their reliability, as power generation solutions, rather limited. This would then make this technology a thermal kind, and because of this, we can say that in reality, CSP is actually competing with other sources of energy that are thermal in nature. The completed solar power park has an installed capacity of 850 MW, which can generate about 200,000 households. Both types of panels produce energy from … After the solar tax credit is applied, the cost of solar installation using either polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar panels can … higher investment, challenges with thermal storage, cooling). Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) consists of nine solar power plants in California’s Mojave Desert where insolation is among the best available in the United States. After all, once people realized that the sun can be used to generate electricity, they would understandably find ways on how to do it. Solar power is one of the fastest growing sources of renewable power in the US. Then once the loose electrons flow, a current is created, and this current is then captured and transferred into wires, thus generating a direct electric current (DC). While a single photovoltaic cell is able to convert sunlight into electricity on its own, the panel is essential to combine and direct the energy output of numerous cells to your inverter and home. The major types of solar panels. It can work on cloudy days, but the energy producing capacity will reduce to 10-30%. And methane is a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Your email address will not be published. These are the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic (PV). That is why if CSP aims to be an attractive option of electricity generation, it has to compete with natural gas and eventually win. Even though it seems like PV installations are favoured just because they don’t cost that much and they’re easier to build, the comparison between CSP and PV will still remain a point of contention. CSP-and-PVIt has been stated by energy market players that PV systems constitute a more proven technology which can be built easier, at lower cost and at much shorter time than CSP plants, which, to the contrary, need more space for large-scale applications and are associated with greater risks (e.g. CSP vs PV – market update – investors’ perspective Thin film solar cells (lowest efficiency and lowest priced. Solar panel efficiency is a measure of the amount of solar energy (irradiation) which falls on a panel surface and is converted into electricity.Due to the many recent advances in solar cell technology over the last 5 years, average panel conversion efficiency has increased from 15% to 20%. You calculate the power supplied or calculate a solar energy system output from the panel to the battery using its Watts-peak and exposure. Because of the CSP’s ability to store energy, the penetration of solar thermal technology in the power generation industry is increased since it helps overcome irregularity issues. As you can see, photovoltaic cells and panels are both integral, closely connected parts of your solar PV system. But the developer, Luz Industries, filed for bankruptcy in 1992 because it was unable to secure construction financing. In fact, the world will be a better place if they actually work together. Utilities and large scale operations heavily utilize wind energy while homeowners prefer solar energy. Although diminishing PV costs and uncertain energy market conditions currently favor photovoltaic installations, as already mentioned, comparison between PV and CSP will continue to be controversial; in fact, it may be that the two solar energy technologies may no longer compete; instead, in the future they may work together to increase solar energy penetration into the power industry. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels differ from solar thermal systems in that they do not use the sun’s heat to generate power. Only in the US, according to market data and research, a total capacity of approximately 3000 MW (3 GW) has been converted from CSP-to-PV solar plants. This large jump in efficiency resulted in the power output of a standard … Energy markets consider three main factors in deciding on power sources: cost of energy, ancillary services and power dispatch-ability on demand. When compared to solar thermal technology, solar PV is a much newer technology. in batteries) especially at large power levels. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, on the other hand, are completely different from CSP. Aside from that, it’s also difficult to store electricity. Michigan alone garnered $4.1 billion worth of public and private investment for projects over the past three years; at the same time, the federal government maintains a 30% investment tax credit for solar installations. Building them doesn’t cost much, and it also doesn’t take too much time. In solar PV systems this is through the creation of electricity, whereas thermal systems are used directly for heating water or air.