When we see articles about solar technology that we think are important, we like to share them. We find this one, published by RenewableEnergyWorld.com, very useful. It discusses how to improve the reliability of solar power including how thermal storage can “even out the bumps,” the importance of grid flexibility, the use of molten salts as a low-cost solution, storage plants in Spain and the USA, and the economic sense of PV/CSP symbiosis.
“Thermal Storage Gets More Solar on the Grid
By Bill Scanlon, NREL (This article was originally published on NREL and was republished with by Renewable Energy World with permission.)
“WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s 4:45 on a sweltering August afternoon, and the rooftop solar panels are starting to lose juice. The sun’s lower angles and that huge cottonwood tree are interfering with the efficient photon-to-electricity transfer.
What is an environmentally conscious — but air-conditioning-loving — homeowner to do?
Peak demand for electricity in the United States typically hits between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., which doesn’t quite line up with the sun’s schedule. It’s fortunate that the sun is high in the sky during many of the hours when the air conditioning is in demand.
But in summer, people tend to need air conditioning during the dinner hour and beyond, when kitchen appliances are whirring, lights are on, and TVs are blaring.”