The advantages of thermal storage in CSP plants are well known: providing energy in a more manageable way; extending operating hours beyond sunset; avoiding fluctuations associated with an intermittent solar resource; and reducing the amount of excess energy to make the plant more efficient.
Worldwide there is currently 3.7 GW of CSP energy storage in plants either in operation, under construction or in development, but the trend towards plants with storage is clear: According to the CSP Today Global Tracker, 59% of the capacity currently under development will have thermal storage. This is reflected in one of the latest CSP Today publications, with the same title as this article, and from which part of the content is reproduced here.
Other content from CSP Today has also helped us to complete this article, with some of the case studies on developing innovative storage technologies, which are presented at the end of the article.
Article published in: FuturENERGY June 2014