SkyFuel, a U.S.-based company, has just published a press release, stating that the The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has certified their SkyTrough solar concentrator technology to have the highest efficiency in its class.
The company claims that SkyTrough’s thermal efficiency at 350 °C (662 °F) exceeds 73 percent. Nearly three quarters of the solar radiation is thus converted into thermal energy, and then into electricity. Taking into account that the thermal-to-electricity converters also have their losses and are not 100% efficient, the losses are higher than 27%, in this case.
Solar concentrators have begun getting momentum as very efficient and very cheap methods of harnessing the Sun’s power. A solar concentrator can, for example, provide the necessary heat for dozens of homes and thus save precious electricity. If used in this manner, solar concentrators render themselves much more efficient than if their captured power had been converted into electricity.