Following the relatively recent news that China and the US have agreed to stronger carbon-emissions goals, a Chinese entity by the name of Xiang Yang Institute and a US-based company called Focused Sun have announced that they are partnering to develop solar microgrids in China (and elsewhere).
The upside to solar microgrid use in the country is the potential there to cut down notably on coal use, and the associated carbon emissions — as well as adding local resiliency against grid outages, market fuel-costs, etc.
The Xiang Yang Institute’s Dean Jihong Chen commented on the partnership thusly: “Focused Sun has squeezed the cost out of solar concentrators, the key part of the microgrid system that focuses sunlight. Together with thermal storage and Chinese turbogenerators, we can produce small power plants for microgrids.”
Through the use of reflected solar energy, mineral oil can be easily (and relatively cheaply) heated to the 300°C temperatures that are needed for modern turbogenerators — this thermal storage can then hold the heat to be used at night, or the next day.