There are many types of solar thermal systems, but one of the most common and efficient is the Power Tower System.

An ingenious technology, the Power Tower System is a large solar thermal power plant that uses mirrors to focus the sun’s energy on a central “receiver” tower.

What is a Power Tower System?

A power tower system is made up of several big sun-tracking flat mirrors that focus sunlight on a receiver at the top of the structure.

These heliostats, which number in hundreds to thousands, can concentrate energy from the sun up to 1500 times what comes down.

Related: How Do Solar Panels Work? (EXPLAINED)

How Does It Work?

The Power Tower System is made up of a few key components:

The Sun-tracking Mirrors: Also called heliostats, these mirrors track the sun throughout the day and reflect sunlight onto the receiver.

The Receiver: This is where the sunlight is concentrated and converted into thermal energy. The receiver can be a Water Stirling Engine or a Solar Dish Engine.

The Turbine: The turbine is connected to an electrical generator that creates electricity from thermal energy.

The Heat Exchanger: The heat exchanger transfers heat from the solar receiver to a working fluid, which in turn powers the turbine.

The Control System: The control system helps keep all of the components working together by tracking the sun, moving the mirrors, and regulating the flow of fluids.

Related: The Different Types Of Solar Thermal Panel Collectors

Advantages of Power Tower Systems 

There are many advantages to using Power Tower System, including:

  • Increased Efficiency: Power tower systems can reach temperatures of up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much hotter than what other solar thermal systems can reach. This allows for greater efficiency in the conversion of sunlight to electricity.
  • Scalability: Power tower systems can be scaled up or down to meet the needs of any size power plant.
  • Flexibility: Power tower systems can be used to generate electricity on a utility-scale or for industrial applications.
  • Dispatchability: Because power tower plants can store thermal energy, they can generate electricity even when the sun is not shining.
  • Environmental Friendliness: Solar thermal power plants have zero emissions and do not contribute to air pollution or greenhouse gases.

Disadvantages of Power Tower Systems

There are also some disadvantages to using Power Tower System, including:

  • High Cost: Power tower systems are more expensive to build than other types of solar thermal power plants.
  • Water Usage: Power tower systems require water for the heat exchanger and receiver, which can be an issue in drought-prone areas.
  • Because a large amount of land is necessary, they are especially suited to areas like the desert.
  • For the many mirrors required, a more solid structure and greater support are essential.
  • The mirrors can be affected by wind, which lowers their efficiency.

How Much Energy Does Power Tower System Produce?

A solar array with a high concentration of 200 mirrors generates more than 500 kW of power. It will be able to reach temperatures of over 1000 °C during peak conditions.

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}