From NOVA PBS, Solar Power:
The amount of solar energy that strike the surface of the Earth in one hour is more than enough to supply every person on the planet with electricity for an entire year. However, there are limits that prevent us from being able to fully take advantage of this energy.
For now, at least!
Watch more videos about the sun in the archives.
From Nova PBS, “What is energy and why are we on a never ending search for new energy sources?”
Turning light into heat 24 hours a day, Concentrated Solar Power plus molten salt storage technology (CSP+) works like a typical steam turbine/electrical power generator system on the inside, but on the outside, it is a phenomenal scene of massive mirrors and a brightly-lit tower right out of a sci-fi novel! There are a few different concentration systems, and new mirror designs continue to break ground.
Spain currently leads the way on operating stations and projects under construction, but solar thermal power stations are becoming a more popular energy solution in the United States, too, with over two dozen new plants announced! Take a tour:
Russell Beard of Earthrise goes on a tour of Gemasolar, near Seville, Spain - the first Concentrated Solar Thermal Power plus molten salt storage (CSP+) plant to produce energy 24 hours per day. This power tower plant produces 20MW, enough to power 25,000 homes but much bigger CSP+ plants are now being in the Middle East and the US that will produce 100MW and 150MW. Even larger CSP+ plants are possible.
24/7 solar! The kid should see this.
Launched in October 2006, STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) traces the flow of energy and matter from the sun to Earth. It also provides unique and revolutionary views of the sun-Earth system. STEREO, when paired with SDO, can now give us the first complete view of the sun’s entire surface and atmosphere.
Speaking of SDO, the Solar Dynamics Observatory team just posted two videos: one of a recent large prominence eruption and one of “darker, cooler plasma” being pulled back and forth by competing magnetic forces. They were observed above the Sun’s surface for 30 hours (Feb. 7-8, 2012).