Conversion Rates From Solar Energy To Electrical Energy
Of all of these technologies the solar dish/Stirling engine has the highest energy efficiency. A single solar dish-Stirling engine installed at Sandia National Laboratories National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) produces as much as 25 kW of electricity, with a conversion efficiency of 31.25%.
Solar parabolic trough plants have been built with efficiencies of about 20%. Fresnel reflectors have an efficiency that is slightly lower (but this is compensated by the denser packing).
The gross conversion efficiencies (taking into account that the solar dishes or troughs occupy only a fraction of the total area of the power plant) are determined by net generating capacity over the solar energy that falls on the total area of the solar plant. The 500-megawatt (MW) SCE/SES plant would extract about 2.75% of the radiation (1 kW/m²; see Solar power for a discussion) that falls on its 4,500 acres (18.2 km²). For the 50 MW AndaSol Power Plant that is being built in Spain (total area of 1,300×1,500 m = 1.95 km²) gross conversion efficiency comes out at 2.6%
Furthermore, efficiency does not directly relate to cost: on calculating total cost, both efficiency and the cost of construction and maintenance should be taken into account.
Read more about this topic: Solar Thermal Energy
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