Given Australia is one of the sunniest continents on Earth, it’s no surprise the increasing numbers of people have embraced solar power as the costs of the technology have dropped dramatically over the last decade.
But while solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are now a common sight on the rooftops of businesses and homes, Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) is a different kind of solar technology with a lot of potential. There are several types of CST technology which focus the sun’s energy, from solar power towers at the centre of huge fields of mirrors to parabolic dishes and rows of mirrors which track the sun.
The Clean Energy Council supports the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in investigating the feasibility of CST as part of its Advancing Renewables program. This needs to recognise that the current energy market does not fully acknowledge the value of the important services that it can provide to the power system.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said that when combined with thermal storage technology, CST can continue to provide renewable energy for hours after the sun has set.
“A more diverse and competitive fleet of renewable energy technologies means a more robust and efficient energy system can be created for generations to come. We have a pressing need to accelerate the development of advanced energy technologies in order to deliver diversity across the renewable energy fleet.
“ If we cloud our vision and don’t at least investigate the benefits of CST – and there are many – then we’re letting an opportunity slip through our fingers,” Mr Thornton said.