Renewable solar energy is used in solar power thermal plants to heat a fluid and turn it into steam. The steam gets converted to mechanical energy that is used to run a turbine. These turbines are in turn connected to generators and power them to convert the mechanical energy into electrical energy. The three types of solar power thermal plants are parabolic troughs, solar dish and solar power tower.
In a parabolic trough collector there is a linear parabolic shaped reflector that focuses the renewable solar energy onto a linear receiver that is located at the focus of the parabola. A working fluid gets heated by solar renewable energy when it passes through a number of heat exchangers. The working fluid then changes to steam that runs a conventional turbine and a generator to produce electricity. These plants are designed to operate only on green renewable energy source, the solar energy.
The solar dish uses concentrating solar collectors to focus the renewable solar energy at the focal point of the dish on which the power generation equipment is mounted. The engine of the solar dish converts the heat energy of the sun into mechanical energy to heat a fluid which passes through a turbine to power an electric generator that converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy.
A solar power tower converts the renewable solar energy into electricity by focusing all the sunlight on a heat exchanger that is mounted on the tower.
The use of solar power as a renewable alternative source of power in thermal plants is becoming very popular for electricity generation.