A landmark breakthrough in solar technological advances has been made by renewable energy specialist Lark Energy, based in the UK. It uses a solar thermal concept, generating steam from the sun’s energy. This new technology can be implemented in a number of different ways, but we’re interested in the commercial and industrial heating aspects, which could be very significant.

Known as ‘solar steam’, water is heated up inside thermal conducting tubes via an array of lenses from the sun’s energy, to such a degree that steam is created. This steam can them be used in a variety of ways.

The solar radiation is tracked throughout the day as the system automatically adjusts it’s angle, ensuring it’s always pointing in the right direction for optimal sun exposure. The system has been put through it’s paces with various phases of testing, and after a very successful year, the concept technology is now ready to go mainstream.

This system could mean the potential for a completely renewable energy source, and although the UK isn’t the sunniest place on earth, it will still be feasible, if only as an addition to existing heating sources. This means the potential savings to businesses could be immense. 

You may be wondering why a solar system would be beneficial, because if it’s sunny, we don’t need to put our heating on right? Wrong, solar panels work because of the sun’s UV rays, not the sun’s heat. The panels and lenses convert the UV energy into heat, which is focused on the water in the tubes.

We will be keeping an eye on the progress of this technology, and hopefully we will be able to exploit it’s potential as a commercial heating solution in the very near future.