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  • 1.  Solar Energy Technologies Question

    Posted 10-11-2021 09:48 AM
    Edited by Ella Nielsen 10-11-2021 09:51 AM
    Hi all!

    I read an article from the Department of Energy about the basics of solar (https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/how-does-solar-work) and it mentioned there are two main types of solar energy technologies - photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP).

    I am less familiar with CSP and was wondering if anyone wouldn't mind explaining the difference a bit more? Is one more effective than the other? Thank you for your time!

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    Ella Nielsen
    Membership & Online Community Intern
    American Solar Energy Society
    Boulder CO
    enielsen@ases.org
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  • 2.  RE: Solar Energy Technologies Question

    ASES Life Member
    Posted 10-11-2021 10:13 AM
    Solar thermal is much less expensive and far more widespread. It's all about using the natural heat from the sun. The biggest way to use solar thermal is long troughs of mirrors with a pipe running down and the water or fluid inside the pipe gets so super hot. The hot water can spin a turbine and make electricity. Super hot water can make air-conditioning. We could be using it to cook enough food for a hospital, college or prison.

    (Think double walled pots, hot water spins around the big cooking pot and zooms back out to keep super heated.)

    The heat from the back of a PV system can be gathered and used for heating hot water efficiently. A large barn operation with a PV system on the roof can add heat from the back of the system, cool the PV modules and heat the hot water needed to clean the barn. Hot milk from cows has to be chilled and that warmth can easily be captured and added to the barn's hot water system. My waste water pipe is wrapped in a copper coil which collects warmth and puts it back into the hot water heater. My hot water is heated on the roof by the sun. I have a big thermal tank in the basement to store lots of super hot water.

    Solar thermal cooking benefits all of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals especially women's lung health, deforestation and time for education. Check out the Copenhagen solar cooker by Jennifer Gasser. She's on YouTube, of course.

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    Wyldon Fishman
    Bronx NY
    wyldon1@gmail.com
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  • 3.  RE: Solar Energy Technologies Question

    Posted 10-11-2021 04:34 PM
    Thank you so much for clarifying and making it easier to understand, I really appreciate it. I look forward to watching Jennifer Gasser's Youtube videos as well!

    Best,
    Ella

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    Ella Nielsen
    Membership & Online Community Intern
    American Solar Energy Society
    Boulder CO
    enielsen@ases.org
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