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Solar Steam Generator

A Solar Receiver Steam Generator (SRSG) is a key component of a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) generating plant. The SRSG, also known as a boiler or receiver, is a high-efficiency boiler positioned on top of a tower (typically 300 to 400 ft above grade), and surrounded by a field of mirrors (heliostats) that focus and concentrate sunlight onto the receiver tubes. The energy from the sunlight is used to generate and superheat steam in a forced circulation drum-type boiler, with the superheated steam being used to produce electricity.

The general arrangement of an SPT plant is shown in Figure I. In contrast to a typical boiler, the outside surface area contains the heat transfer surface, while the drum, piping, and supporting equipment and steel are located within the confines of the heat absorbing surfaces. One of the advantages of Power tower CSP over other forms of CSP is the use of steam rather than exotic heat transfer fluids allowing for the generation of high temperature and pressure steam using the highly efficient Rankine cycle for conversion to electricity. The use of water/steam allows for the utilization of power generation industry standard equipment and design concepts found in all steam power plants.

The latest design for this technology will be supplied to Brightsource’s Invanpah Solar Electric Generating System. Ivanpah will:

  • Be the largest solar thermal plant in the world
  • Generate 392 MW, which will serve 140,000 homes in California
  • Be the first large-scale solar thermal project built in nearly two decades
  • Double the amount of commercial solar thermal electricity produced in the U.S.


Solar Power Tower, relative size