CSP

Concentrated Solar Power

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CSP represents the most potential for providing energy from sunlight.
Most people are familiar with images of the giant utility scale heliostat fields reflecting sunlight on a central tower where the heat gets used to produce steam for turbine generators.
There are many other kinds of solar concentrating systems including parabolic dishes, troughs, Fresnel mirrors, Stirling engine systems, and CPV. Recently there have been several large heliostat projects which represent one form of active CSP. Parabolic troughs are the best example of an effective semi-passive CSP.

Home CSP manufactures our own parabolic ribs and heat fins for standard and compound parabolic trough applications. These pre-cut panels make assembling your own parabolic trough as easy as possible.

CSP may also be categorized by application: electricity, heat, or light. Photo-voltaic systems can benefit from CSP, but conventional PV cells suffer from the fact that their output voltage goes down as temperature increases. Some systems use special high temperature cells, while others utilize the excess heat by transferring it to a fluid for other use in what is called a Combined Heat and Power system (CHP)

Current CSP market analyses have focused entirely on utility scale projects involving both heliostat and parabolic trough reflector systems. The energy from these projects is ultimately intended largely for domestic and small business use, so forecasts for market investment of $80 billion in CSP over the next decade are certainly a reflection of the consumer demand. As the home CSP market has been completely ignored by the solar industry, transitioning a profitable product from novelty item to mass market represents a huge opportunity.

While energy in sunlight peaks in the visible frequencies, nearly half of the energy in sunlight is in the form of heat, i.e. infrared, and often we need energy in the home to make heat.
By concentrating the sun’s power on a smaller area, greater heat transfer efficiency is achieved, and by manipulating solar light with mirrors, we can transport the heat to where it is needed without having to convert it to electricity first, yielding an even more dramatic efficiency advantage.

At a basic level there are two forms of concentrated solar energy: active and passive.
  • Active systems employ motors to track the sun and maximize efficiency
  • Passive systems simply attempt to gather as much energy as possible in a static configuration.

Why now?
Recent developments in microprocessors and embedded software technology have allowed the creation low-cost specialized controllers capable of the sophisticated analysis needed to make CSP convenient, practical, and affordable. By combining the latest micro-electronics technology with physics, and astronomy, and applying results to the needs of the home, a truly new paradigm of energy usage is possible. With rising energy prices and widespread insecurity due to dependence on problematic sources, why not utilize the energy falling on your home for free already? You’ll enjoy peace of mind as well as one less bill.