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The Changing Energy MixA Systematic Comparison of Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy$
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Paul F. Meier

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190098391

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190098391.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 June 2021



A Renewable Energy Type

(p.228) 7 Solar
The Changing Energy Mix

Paul F. Meier

Oxford University Press

There are two basic approaches for using solar energy to generate electricity. The first type, solar photovoltaic (PV) energy, uses semiconductors to convert sunlight into electricity. Crystalline silicon semiconductors are the most common type in use. The second approach is called concentrating solar power (CSP), also referred to as solar thermal. Basically, CSP uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight and generate steam, which is used to power a turbine. The most common method employed commercially is the parabolic trough, where the mirrors are horizontally disposed in a parabolic shape. Solar PV is more commonly used commercially because of high capital costs for building a CSP power plant. Solar PV has experienced rapid growth over the last ten years, increasing by more than twentyfold in the United States. Growth for CSP has increased threefold over the same ten years, but no growth over the last four years. Spain and the United States lead the world in commercial CSP plants.

Keywords:   photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, semiconductor, parabolic trough, solar tower, bandgap, crystalline silicon technology, thin film technology, solar panel, efficiency

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