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Solar thermal generators harness the power of the sun to collect thermal energy (heat). This thermal energy generally heats a liquid, like water, and uses the steam from this process to run a steam turbine.

There are three main types of solar thermal technology; Towers, Troughs and Dishes. The advantage of a dish system is that it can achieve much higher temperatures due to the higher concentration of light than other technologies. Higher temperatures lead to better conversion to electricity and the dish system is very efficient in producing such temperatures. For this reason dish technology is generally the most cost effective.

A dish system uses a large, reflective, parabolic dish (similar in shape to satellite television dish). It focuses all the sunlight that strikes the dish up onto a single point above the dish, where a receiver captures the heat and transforms it into a useful form.