Solar Power 24/7 Gets Affordable
24-Hour Solar Energy: Molten Salt Makes It Possible, and Prices Are Falling Fast Molten salt storage in concentrated solar power plants could meet the electricity-on-demand role of coal and gas, allowing more old, fossil fuel plants to retire.
Robert Dieterich, January 16, 2018 (Inside Climate News)
“…[The 110-megawatt concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, built and operated by SolarReserve in Northern Nevada desert is proving] the technology that drives Crescent Dunes can make solar power an affordable, carbon-free, day-and-night energy source, dispatched on the electric grid like any fossil fuel plant…[C]oncentrated sunlight heats molten salt to 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit in [a] shimmering tower; then the salt gets stored in a giant insulated tank and can be tapped [anytime] to make steam to run a turbine…
If this plant and several similar facilities under construction, or soon to be, prove reliable, the technology is poised to take off. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels can displace fossil fuels during the day, and wind turbines can do the same as long as it's windy. But molten salt towers may be able to meet the challenge of electricity on demand, and push more older, dirtier fossil-fuel plants into retirement…The price of the power generated at SolarReserve's second plant, to be built near Port Augusta, Australia, will be less than half that of the electricity produced by Crescent Dunes…just over $0.06/kWh…” click here for more