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CHAPTER TEN
Solar Energy
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Exhibit 10-5

Solar Power Towers

Exhibit 10-5 is a schematic of electricity generation using molten-salt storage.

Solar power towers use a large field of sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats to concentrate sunlight on a receiver located on the top of a tower. The receiver heats a heat transfer fluid such as molten nitrate salt that is then used to generate steam to power a turbine-generator to produce electricity. The molten salt reaches about 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit in the receiver before being stored in a tank where it can retain its heat for several hours.

Step-by-step:

  1. Sun heats salt in the receiver.
  2. The salt is stored in hot storage tank.
  3. Hot salt is pumped through the steam generator.
  4. Steam drives turbine/generator to produce electricity.
  5. Salt returns to cold storage tank.

For more information on this exhibit, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Services Division at 512-463-4900 or at P.O. Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711-3528.

Sources: Florida A&M University and Florida State University.

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