Commercial solar thermal heating systems – We are seeking end user partners who are looking to reduce their heating overheads and carbon footprint by installing solar thermal heating.
Our focus is on medium scale commercial solar thermal heating for schools, public sector buildings, poultry farms, hotels and pubs throughout the UK and Northern Ireland. Find out how your business could benefit from a turnkey commercial solar thermal system..
Global development of concentrating solar thermal and solar PV plants:
CleanTech Investments believes Concentrating Photovoltaic (“CPV”) and concentrating solar thermal (“CST”) systems present the greatest opportunity in solar development growth. CPV is twice as efficient as traditional solar PV and uses half the number of solar panels and half the land area needed to generate the same amount of power, however the plant needs direct sunlight to operate efficiently and therefore there are geographical limitations to market growth, with development focused on countries nearest the equator with the highest global levels of solar irradiation and daylight hours.
A CPV system converts solar irradiation into electricity in the same manner as conventional photovoltaic technology, however the CPV utilises an advanced optical system to focus a wide area of sunlight onto each cell, maximising the cell’s efficiency. CPV panels are mounted on trackers to keep the focal point on the cell as the sun moves across the sky during the course of the day.
The solar cells in a CPV system are incorporated within concentrating collectors that use lenses or mirrors to direct and concentrate the sunlight on the cells. CPV systems also use half the number of cells required to achieve the same installed capacity as non concentrating traditional PV.
The low – medium concentrating solar PV system intensifies solar irradiation to a level of 100 – 300 suns. At a level of concentration up to 200 suns the panels do not require active cooling. at 200 – 300 suns active cooling is required to prevent thermal damage to the cells.
High concentrating solar intensifies solar irradiation to around 1000 suns or more. The PV cells require high capacity heat sinks to prevent thermal destruction and a cooling system to prevent electrical system losses due to overheating. High concentrating solar utilise Multi-junction PV cells that are up to 44.7% efficient.
The global market for concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) systems is poised for explosive growth, with worldwide installations set to grow by 750% between 2013 and 2020, according to a report published by the market research group IHS. The 2013 IHS Report predicts that CPV installations will rise to 1,362 MW in 2020, up from 160 MW in 2013. New CPV installations are expected to expand at double-digit percentages every year through 2020. CTI is perfectly positioned to embrace this growth, with its focus on the development of utility scale projects in the emerging markets of the Middle East and South Africa.
Concentrating Solar Thermal Power Plants
A parabolic trough is a curved solar thermal collector lined with a metal mirror to reflect solar irradiation. The principle of capturing solar irradiation for solar thermal using a parabolic trough is the same as that of conventional solar PV. The troughs are aligned on a north-south axis and are rotated to track the sun as it moves across throughout the day.
Heat transfer fluid runs through a the tube in the middle of the parabolic trough to absorb the concentrated solar irradiation heat. During operation the temperature of the heat transfer fluid is increased to around 400°C and this heat source is then used to evaporate water into steam, powering a conventional steam turbine. The average capacity factor of parabolic trough plants is around 56% and the thermal efficiency is 60 – 80%. A combination of concentrating solar panels and parabolic troughs delivers both heat and power, the steam can be condensed and delivered to district heating systems, as well as to power steam turbine generators.
Solar Thermal Power Tower
Heliostat power plants capture and focus the sun’s energy with tracking mirrors known as “heliostats” . A tower, usually in excess of 100m high resides in the center of the plant. Heliostats focus concentrated sunlight on a receiver which sits on top of the tower, this component then heats molten salt to around 550 °C. The molten salt then flows to a thermal storage tank where it is stored underground and maintains around 98% thermal efficiency, powering a steam generator and enabling the solar plant to generate power 24 hours a day.
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