Six new research and development projects that will help advance concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies have been given $10 million (£5.9m) in total by the US Government.
CSP technologies use mirrors to focus and concentrate sunlight onto a single point where it is used to heat up a liquid, produce steam and turn turbines to generate electricity.
The chosen projects will explore and develop innovative energy storage systems, which could efficiently store solar energy while using less storage material and cutting the cost of utility-scale CSP electricity generation.
Energy would be stored at high densities and temperatures in the form of chemical bonds, which would be broken down to release it when needed.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said: “By improving energy storage technologies for concentrating solar power systems, we can enhance our ability to provide clean and reliable solar power, even when the sun is not shining.”
Five CSP plants are expected to be fully operational in the US this year, which when completed would provide 1.26 GW of electricity, equivalent to powering more than 350,000 homes.