Solar Power RecordPosted: February 14, 2008
Reports today that a new record has been set in the efficiency of solar-generated electricity: slightly more than 31% efficiency on a particularly cold but very sunny day in New Mexico during January.
This technique is different to the photovoltaic panels seen on house roofs or solar vehicles, the kind that generates electricity directly from solar radiation but which can only manage a maximum efficiency of about 14%.
Rather, this facility uses an array of mirrors to reflect and focus the sun’s heat onto a central, sealed ‘engine’ containing hydrogen where heat transfer causes pressure changes that drive a generator.
Parts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia could use this kind of technology in the future to generate clean, sustainable energy.