Solar power plants are facilities that take advantage of the Sun's radiation to generate electrical energy. There are 2 types of facilities:
- Thermosolar plant . It generates electricity from the heating of a fluid with which, through a conventional thermodynamic cycle , it is possible to move an alternator thanks to the steam generated by it.
- Photovoltaic installation . Electric energy is obtained through photovoltaic panels that capture the light energy of the Sun. This transformation is achieved thanks to photovoltaic cells made of semiconductor materials.
A solar thermal power plant is an installation that takes advantage of the Sun's energy to produce electricity through a thermal cycle similar to that of conventional thermal power plants. The most important solar thermal power plants are:
- Central tower stations . They have a set of large directional mirrors that concentrate solar radiation at one point. The heat is transferred to a fluid that circulates inside the boiler and transforms it into steam, thus starting a conventional water-steam cycle.
- Central distributed collectors . These types of plants use concentration collectors with which they amplify the intensity of solar radiation on a surface. The collectors allow to obtain, with good efficiency, temperatures of up to 300ºC, sufficient to produce steam at high temperatures, which is used to generate electricity or also for other industrial processes.