Colorado group looks to support growing solar thermal market

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 @ 08:02 AM
posted by rene5432

Most people considering adding a solar power installation think only of photovoltaic solar panels. But reports that  a new group in Colorado wants to make solar thermal a bigger part of the state's energy future.

The new Solar Thermal Alliance of Colorado was created to help the state take advantage of the unique circumstances in the state that makes solar thermal a particularly useful technology.

Unlike photovoltaics, solar thermal installations are generally used for heating water or providing heat for a home. In cold areas with little sunlight and sunny areas that are generally hot, this is less useful, but the state of Colorado offers lots of sunshine along with substantial heating needs.

But solar thermal systems are not exclusively for heating. They can also serve to cut down on electricity bills. A new type of solar power system developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used a different principle based on temperature differences to create electricity as part of a solar thermal system.

On a larger scale, solar thermal power plants can provide much more reliable electricity than solar panels are capable of producing.

Over time, the STAC projects that investment in the solar thermal industry could lead to as many as 24,000 jobs and $1 billion in annual revenue.

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