Chris Strieter


Solar Thermal

Presentation 1

Questions from the first presentation

  1. Can dishes be used for local use? How does their output compare to solar panels on a house? Would it be practical to have a combined Sterling engine and water heating system for a house or apartment building?
  2. Do the mirrors degrade significantly over time?
  3. Is molten salt the material of choice for thermal storage? If so, why? If not, what is?
  4. How efficient is the heat storage in these systems? That is, how much heat leaks out to the surroundings instead of being used to produce electric power?
  5. What kind of thermal insulation is used in the storage tanks and for the piping of cylindrical trough systems?
  6. How do they plan to upgrade Solar 2 to 500 MW?
  7. What is the highest temperature at which a solar-thermal plant operates? What limits this temperature?
  8. What are the mirrors made of? What fraction of the cost of a new solar thermal plant do they represent? Are there prospects for reducing the cost of mirrors?
  9. How do the efficiency and cost of solar thermal plants compare to other sources of renewable energy?
  10. Are there government subsidies for solar thermal plants?
  11. Do the condensers require a constant water supply?
  12. What is the likely growth of this kind of power source in the near future? What is the current pay-back time? What about maintenance costs?
  13. What solar thermal projects are currently planned in the United States and abroad?

Some additional questions

  1. What do concentrated solar thermal installations use as the cold reservoir? How much water is required? Do they use underground tanks to cool recirculating water?
  2. Roughly what would it cost to install a solar water-heating system on the roof of a dorm at HMC? How much natural gas would it save? Would it work in the frigid Claremont winter? What would the payback period be?
  3. Some residential solar-thermal installations from the 1970s leaked and required excessive maintenance. How reliable are the systems available today?
  4. What countries use solar water heating extensively?
  5. Photovoltaics are more efficient when they are cooler, but I can assure you that they get quite warm in the summer sun. Does anyone manufacture panels backed with tubes for heating water?
  6. How do the economics of a roof-top solar Stirling engine compare with solar PV?

~Peter Saeta 2010 March 10 at 09:06 PM PST

Solar Thermal

(Will be updated soon)


  1. Goswami, D. Yogi., Frank Kreith, Jan F. Kreider, and Frank Kreith. Principles of Solar Engineering. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis, 2000. Print.
  2. Tester, Jefferson W. Sustainable Energy: Choosing among Options. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 2005. Print.
  3. Sørensen, Bent. Renewable Energy Conversion, Transmission, and Storage. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic, 2007. Print.
    • Call number: TJ808 .S67 2007
  4. Letcher, Trevor. Future Energy: Improved, Sustainable and Clean Options for Our Planet. Oxford: Elsevier, 2008. Print.
  5. Thermal Storage Commercial Plant Design Study for a 2-Tank Indirect Molten Salt System
  6. Gupta, M.K., and S.C. Kaushik. "Exergy analysis and investigation for various feed water heaters of direct steam generation solar–thermal power plant." Renewable Energy: An International Journal 35.6 (2010): 1228-1235. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 7 Apr. 2010.
  7. A new code for the design and analysis of the heliostat field layout for power tower system.

Solar Energy, Volume 84, Issue 4, April 2010, Pages 685-690. Xiudong Wei, Zhenwu Lu, Weixing Yu, Zhifeng Wang.

  1. A new method for the design of the heliostat field layout for solar tower power plant. Renewable Energy, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 18 February 2010 Xiudong Wei, Zhenwu Lu, Zhifeng Wang, Weixing Yu, Hongxing Zhang, Zhihao Yao.
  2. Solar tower power plant in Germany and future perspectives of the development of the technology in Greece and Cyprus.