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History Of CSP


The historical sequence of events that lead to the development of solar technology from the 7th Century B.C. to the 20th Century:


Century B.C.7th

Magnifying glass used to concentrate sun’s rays to make fire and to burn ants.

3rd Century B.C.

Greeks and Romans used burning mirrors to light torches for religious purposes.

2nd Century B.C.

As early as 212 BC, the Greek scientist, Archimedes, used the reflective properties of bronze shields to focus   sunlight and to set  fire to wooden ships from the Roman Empire which were besieging Syracuse.



20 A.D.

Chinese document use of burning mirrors to light torches for religious purposes.


Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure was credited with building the world’s first solar collector, later used by Sir John Herschel to cook food during his South Africa expedition in the 1830s


French mathematician August Mouchet proposed an idea for solar-powered steam engines. In the following two decades, he and his assistant, Abel Pifre, constructed the first solar powered engines and used them for a variety of applications. These engines became the predecessors of modern parabolic dish collectors.




Aubrey Eneas created first commercial solar motor to irrigate 120h with 6.400 liter of water / minute.


A patent was granted to Dr. Maier from Aalen and Mr. Remshalden from Stuttgart for a parabolic trough-shaped collector to use solar irradiation directly for steam generation.


Frank Shuman used a similar concept to build a 45 kW sun-tracking parabolic trough plant in Meadi, near Cairo, Egypt.


Mid 1980s

The American/Israeli Company Luz International achieved a major technology breakthrough when they started to build parabolic trough power stations in series. Each of the nine Solar Electric Generating Stations (SEGS) plants built between 1984 and 1991 in the California Mojave desert was bigger by far than any of the research pilot plants built shortly before. The SEGS plants started its success story with an initial 14 MW, followed by six plants of 30 MW, finally reaching a capacity of 80 MW in the last two units built between 1989 and 1991. In total, they provide 354 MW of reliable capacity which can be dispatched to the Southern California grid.


Nevada Solar One is a CSP Plant based on parabolic trough technology with a capacity ranging between 64MW-75MW. It is the 2nd solar thermal plant built in US, located in Eldorado Valley, Nevada. Nevada Solar One went online for commercial use on June 27th, 2007.The 10 MW solar-only power plant projects, Planta Solar (PS10) in Sevilla, promoted by Spanish and German companies, produces electricity with 624 large heliostats based on Central receiver System. Its construction started in summer 2004, was completed in 2006 and the plant became operational in 2007.


Andasol Solar Power Stations, Andasol 1,2 & 3 are Europe’s first parabolic trough commercial power plants (50 MW) located in Granda in Spainbuilt over 195 hectares of terrain. The developers of Andasol 1 and Andasol 2 are Solar Millenium and ACS Cobra. Andasol went online in March 2009. Andasol Power Plant also has the provision for thermal storage in tanks as molten salt.

Ausra Pty Ltd’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology was installed to augment coal-fired power generation. This system increases the electrical output for a given coal input rather than being simply a coal-replacement technology. The use of existing infrastructure reduces costs when compared to a stand-alone plant. It began testing operations at the company’s Liddell Solar Thermal Station in 2004, initially generating one megawatt equivalent (MW) of solar‐generated steam. In 2005, Ausra started construction of its Phase II, 9‐MWt solar thermal steam system (3MWe) and completed the expansion in 2008.



Abengoa Solar began commercial operation of a 20 MW solar power tower plant called PS20 near Seville. It is based on Central receiver solar technology.Sierra Sun Tower- esolar commercial power plant that is North America’s only operating solar tower that was completed in Aug 2009. It is located in Lancaster.

The state of Gujarat, India, announced “Solar Power Policy-2009” which will remain in operation up to March 2014. Gujarat, with geographical area of 196,000 km2 receives average insolation of 5.6-6 kwh/m2. As per the policy, the minimum project capacity of a solar power generator in case of a photovoltaic & solar thermal shall be 5 MW each and a maximum of 500 MW.

ISCCS Al Kuraymat - Egypt's National Renewable Energies Authority (NREA) took an initiative to build 150-megawatt (MW) ISCCS plant in Kuraymat. The hybrid power plant uses both natural gas and solar energy (parabolic trough solar field) to generate electricity. The construction of the hybrid plant started in Jan 2009 and will start production by December 2012.

World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) Trust Fund Committee on December 2, 2009 prepared a MENA CSP scale-up Investment Plan (MENA CSP IP). Under this plan nine commercial-scale power plants (totaling around 1.2 GW) and two strategic transmission projects in five countries of the MENA Region (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia are being envisioned. The aim is for the Mediterranean MENA countries ultimately to become major suppliers and consumers of CSP-generated electricity. The MENA CSP IP is conceived as a transformational program, leading to the installation of at least 5 GW of CSP capacity in MENA by 2020, based on the 1.2 GW triggered by the MENA CSP IP. The first projects are expected to start commercial operations by 2014, and initially to supply domestic markets in MENA countries.




Solnova 1,3 and 4 are Abengoa’s three first 50 MW parabolic trough plants in operation, of a total of five (Solnova 1,2,3,4 & 5) plants. In July 2010, the Italian utility Enel unveiled “Archimedes”, the first CSP plant in the world to use molten salts for heat transfer & storage which is integrated with an existing combined cycle gas facility. It is a 5MW plant located near Syracuse in Sicily, Italy.

India launched a Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission at the Solar Energy Conclave in New Delhi with a target of 20,000 MW of Solar Power by 2020. The Mission will adopt a 3-phase approach, spanning the remaining period of the 11th Plan and first year of the 12th Plan (up to 2012-13) as Phase 1, the remaining 4 years of the 12th Plan (2013–17) as Phase 2 and the 13th Plan (2017–22) as Phase 3. The first phase of this mission aims to commission 1000MW of grid-connected solar power projects by 2013. The implementation of this phase is in hands of a subsidiary of National Thermal Power Corporation, the largest power producer in India.

Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure was credited with building the world’s first solar collector, later used by Sir John Herschel to cook food during his South Africa expedition in the 1830s