BrightSource just cancelled a proposed solar thermal plant due toÂ uncertainties surrounding transmission lines, costs, and the time involved in making changes to plans. They wanted to change their Hiddens Hills construction plans in Inyo County CA to include molten salt heat storage so the plant could generate electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. But this would have meant starting all over again on permits.
Solar thermal reflects the heat of the sun to a central tower to power turbines and can store the heat in the molten salt. However the price of solar panels keeps plunging, plus solar thermal uses water, sometimes lots of it, in deserts where water is scarce. By contrast, solar panels use practically no water.