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Solar Power Question: What are concentrating solar power systems?

Answer: Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. The concentrated light is then used as a heat source for a conventional power plant or is concentrated onto photovoltaic surfaces.

Concentrated sunlight has been used to perform useful tasks from the time of ancient China. A legend claims that Archimedes used polished shields to concentrate sunlight on the invading Roman fleet and repel them from Syracuse. As legends go, this was probably not possible. In 1866, Auguste Mouchout used a parabolic trough to produce steam for the first solar steam engine.[1] Over the following 50 years, inventors such as John Ericsson and Frank Shuman developed concentrating solar-powered devices for irrigation, refrigeration, and locomotion.

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