Solar Thermal Power Plants use technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat). High temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors or lenses to focus heat into working fluids that can be used either to turn a turbine or stored for deployment after the sun goes down.
The primary technologies include parabolic troughs and solar power towers.
Parabolic troughs use curved, mirrored troughs which reflects the direct solar radiation onto a glass tube of working fluid running the length of the trough. In order to maximize sunlight, the troughs use a single axis tracking system to increase production yields.
Power Tower, Heliostats or Central Tower designs capture and focus the sun’s thermal energy with thousands of tracking mirrors in a field approximately a square mile. They heat molten salt to over 1,000 degree Fahrenheit.