03 Jan '12, 3pm

The Convoluted Economics of Storing Energy

SolarReserve An artist’s rendering of SolarReserve’s solar thermal project in Nevada. Thousands of mirrors will focus the sun’s heat, and the energy will be stored in the form of molten salt. As I reported in Tuesday’s paper , some companies think that one form of renewable energy is going to open a window for another — that solar photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, are going to increase the grid’s need for a type of solar energy that can be stored. That would be solar thermal power, which harnesses heat from the sun and converts it to steam to make electricity as the need arises, especially when the sun has disappeared behind a cloud or dropped below the horizon. Electricity is unique among major commodities in that it must be produced and consumed simultaneously. It can be stored in a battery, of course, but for now, that technology’s c...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/the-convoluted-...

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