The huge European consortium Desertec has signed a memorandum with Morocco to build concentrating solar plants in Morocco. While their plan is admirable – build solar power plants in deserts in North Africa and the Middle East to create energy for those areas and Europe, concentrating solar power has always seem an odd choice to me.
Photovoltaic is much cheaper now and uses tiny amounts of water. Concentrating solar reflects the sun’s heat to a central point where it is used to power steam engines. Steam, of course, requires water, something deserts generally don’t have much of, especially considering Desertec wants to do this on a ginormous scale.