Virtual Solar Grid Adds All Existing Linear Fresnel Reflector Power Plants
Originally published on March 22, 2018 at LinkedIn
Linear Fresnel reflector arrays are a form of concentrated solar power that can basically be regarded as a design for reducing a large parabolic trough into an array of smaller flat reflectors based on the same idea of a Fresnel lens. In the practice of solar energy engineering, however, Fresnel reflectors are less popular than parabolic troughs and less known than power towers, but people have built a bunch of them around the world, including two large ones in operation (one in Spain and the other in India). In addition, China is reportedly constructing four more to join the league, each of them will have a nameplate capacity of 50 MW.
I have added 14 existing Fresnel reflector arrays that I could find through the Internet to the Virtual Solar Grid. Although these power plants generate a negligible percentage of energy (at the time of writing, the Virtual Solar Grid features more than 400 photovoltaic and concentrated solar power plants that theoretically generate over 17 TWh per year — which is still under 0.1% of the global electricity consumption in 2016), promoting the public awareness about their humble existence and the innovative idea is nonetheless an important step to insure the future because we will need all sorts of solutions in the quest for renewable energy. If we are serious about meeting the challenge of climate change, we must build at least 20 times more solar power plants around the world in the next 20–30 years. Compared with other technologies, linear Fresnel reflectors have their own pros and cons. A healthy market should allow all promising technologies to have a chance to compete, improve, and grow.