Concentrated Solar Power Pros & Cons

Concentrated Solar Power, Renewables, Carbon, Fresh Water, Climate change

Dish-engine concentrated solar power in Australia

Concentrated solar power (CSP) systems generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy, onto a small area.

Electricity is generated when the concentrated light is converted to heat, which drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator or powers a thermochemical reaction.

Waste heat for fresh water

The drawbacks are that solar thermal plants generate large amounts of waste heat which can be used to clean waste water into fresh water.


  • Renewable energy
  • Carbon-free
  • Can serve as a drop-in replacement for conventional fuels to make steam
  • Operating costs are low
  • Can utilize thermal storage to better match supply with demand
  • High efficiency
  • Scalable to the 100MW+ level


  • Intermittent
  • Low energy density
  • Construction/installation costs are high
  • They require a considerable amount of space
  • Manufacturing processes often create pollution
  • Heavily location dependent
  • Will involve significant transmission distances/losses

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