There are three different ways to harness the solar energy: low temperature collection, concentrating solar power and photo-voltaic systems. Low temperature systems typically use a flat-plate collector to heat water. Nickel-containing stainless steels may be used for the collector and associated pipes. They can have a selective surface applied which absorbs the solar radiation very effectively but does not re-radiate much energy at the temperature of the collector.
An array of mirrors can be used to concentrate the solar radiation onto receivers where the temperature can reach 500°C. The heat is taken away by molten salts in heat and corrosion resistant stainless steel tubing. Stainless steel tanks containing molten salts are also used to store the heat.
Photo-voltaic (PV) systems generate electricity directly and may use stainless steel for the frames of the panels.
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