Advanced technology is playing an important role as the world looks for efficient and cost-effective sources of energy. Solar energy generation is growing, especially in sunny areas such as Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the southwestern United States.
Photovoltaic (PV) energy has been a longtime leader in this field, but concentrated solar power (CSP) systems (which use mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area to drive a heat engine connected to an electrical power generator) have been around for a long time and have now started to pick up steam. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has offered roughly $5.89 billion in loans to four CSP projects, an amount greater than what it has offered to developers of photovoltaic projects.
CSP is experiencing rapid growth, with about 740 MW of global generating capacity added between 2007 and the end of 2010, bringing the total installed capability to 1,095 MW. NEM Energy b.v. is developing a power tower system type of CSP that uses a field of sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats to concentrate light onto a receiver on top of a tower.
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