London: Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) could supply a substantial amount of current energy demand, claims a study.
For example, the study showed that in the Mediterranean region a connected CSP system could provide 70-80 percent of the current electricity demand at no extra cost compared to gas-fired power plants.
That percentage is similar to what a standard energy production plant, such as a nuclear plant, can provide.
"Solar energy systems can satisfy much more of our hunger for electricity, at not much more cost than what we currently have," said Stefan Pfenninger, who led the study while working at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria.
One problem with deploying solar energy on a large scale is that the sun does not shine all the time. That means that energy must be stored in some way.
For photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight directly to electricity, this is especially difficult to overcome, because electricity is difficult to store.
Unlike photovoltaic (PV) cells, CSP uses the sun`s energy to heat up a liquid that drives turbines.
This means that the collected energy can be stored as heat, and converted to electricity only when needed.
But even with the CSP, if the sun does not shine for a long period of time the system may not be able to support large-scale energy needs.
One way to solve this problem is to build a large, connected network of the CSP.
The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.