Solar technologies are used in concentrated solar power (CSP) plants that use different kinds of mirror configurations to convert the sun’s energy into high-temperature heat. The heat energy is then used to generate electricity in a steam generator. CSP uses the sun to heat water, or other liquids, to high temperatures, whose resulting steam is then used to drive turbines that create electricity.
CSP is generally accepted to be more cost effective than PV, and more practical, as it can power on throughout the night, without the aid of the sun, thanks to its thermal storage capabilities. A solar farm taking up 92 by 92 miles of desert could power the entire U.S. One of the byproducts of CSP, waste heat, can be used to desalinate seawater (conversely, it can produce thermal cooling, otherwise known as air conditioning).