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Technology Basics

Concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies can be a major contributor to our nation's future need for new, clean sources of energy, particularly in the Western United States.

A reliable and affordable supply of electricity is essential to protect public health and safety, and to sustain a vigorous economy in the West. Constraints in natural gas supplies, low hydropower generation due to drought, and increasing demand for electricity have led to enormous volatility in the West's power market.

And as the population in the western states continues to grow, energy demand will continue to increase. With the addition of thermal storage, concentrating solar power technologies can provide power during periods when demand on the utilities is at its peak, even if the sun isn't shining. This ability to provide dispatchable power during periods of peak demand establishes concentrating solar power technologies as a viable energy choice for the West.

Working in partnership with public and private organizations, NREL supports research and development that advances concentrating solar power technologies. Our goal is to make them competitive in U.S. and global power markets. We also provide critical analysis that identifies both opportunities and barriers to achieving this goal.

Learn more about the basics of concentrating solar power.