Concentrated solar power (CSP), which is also called solar thermal power generation, is believed to merge as a practical means of alternative energy after the success of wind energy and solar cells. A successful example of CSP installation has been set in Nevada State of America, supplying Las Vegas about 22 MW annually.
Concentrated solar power is generated by directing sunlight through reflective and convergent lenses and collecting when the sunlight travels through the focal point. The main advantage of such technology is that it can maximize the output efficiency per area unit of solar cells and thus reduces the number of solar cells used.
CSP technology uses parabolic lenses to gather sunlight in a heat absorber filled with synthetic oil and delivers the heated synthetic oil (about 400 degrees Celsius) to heat exchanger where cycled water system is heated in a way that water steam can propel the generator to generate electricity.
The main difference between CSP and solar cells is that solar cells can directly convert sunlight into electricity even in cloudy weather while CSP has to be installed in sunny areas. A solution to this shortcoming is achievable by using molten salt as a medium to store heat which then in turn solves the problem of unstable source of sunlight.