The HVS Project will use concentrating solar power (CSP) technology to capture heat generated by sunlight and turn that heat into electricity. The HVS Project will be composed of three main components (represented in the facility diagram, below)
Solar Field — The solar field is composed of rows of parabolic-shaped mirrors. The mirrors follow the sun to catch as much energy as possible. The curvature of these mirrors focuses the sunlight on a central receiver tube that runs the length of the mirror. The central receiver tubes are hollow and filled with a heat transfer fluid (HTF). The HTF, warmed by the sunlight to more than 700°F, then flows to the power block or the thermal energy storage system, depending on the mode of operation.
Power Block — Hot HTF is transported to the power block where it is used to boil water to generate steam for use in a conventional steam generator to produce electricity.
Thermal Energy Storage System — Hot HTF is also transported to thermal storage tanks. The heat from the HTF is transferred to the molten salts where it is stored for later use. This process allows electricity to be produced when it is needed (e.g., when clouds pass by, after sunset, or before sunrise) and not just when the sun is shining.
Solar energy is a renewable resource and is constantly replenished, whereas fossil fuel (coal, oil, and natural gas) resources are limited and subject to market pricing and volatility