Strategic Energy Technologies Information System

European Initiative on Smart Cities

Concentrated Solar Power: Technology Information Sheet


Concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies produce electricity by concentrating the sun’s rays to heat a medium (usually a liquid or gas) that is then used in a heat engine process (steam or gas turbine) to drive an electrical generator. CSP uses only the beam component of solar radiation (direct normal irradiance), and so its maximum benefit tends to be restricted to a limited geographical range.

Like nearly all other current means of producing electricity, CSP ultimately involves heating a fluid. There are four main CSP technologies: parabolic troughs (PT), solar towers with central receivers (CR), linear Fresnel reflectors (LF) and parabolic dishes (PD), all of which are at various stages of development.