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Solar Thermal Power was a method of getting solar energy. It was essentially the same concept as the steam engine.
The steam engine was first invented by Thomas Newcomen in 1712. This atmospheric engine was improved upon by James Watt in 1763. The steam engine was first used in factories. It then found its way to trains and ships. In 1800, Richard Trevithick invented a high-pressure steam engine that made steamships and steam locomotives possible. In the 20th century, steam engines were replaced with internal combustion engines, electric motors, and steam turbines. Steam turbines were most notable as they were an advanced form of steam engine. These were common in power plants as they could turn generators easily. They could use any power source. Even solar thermal power.
Tech Level: 10-11
Solar Thermal Power was more efficient than photovoltaics. It came in different levels. Low-temperature collectors were used to heat swimming pools. Medium-temperature collectors were used for solar water heaters. High-temperature collectors were the ones used for electricity. The first solar power tower, a concept depicted in the 1980s children's science fiction series, The Transformers, was constructed in Arizona in 2015. The Solar energy would be concentrated by parabolic mirrors heating the water inside the tower to steam which went up a chimney and turned a turbine on top. This produced electricity. This was enough to serve 150,000 homes. By the 2020s, more solar power towers were being built. By the mid-21st century, the technology was going to space. It served as power sources for colonies in space. At the same time, the solar thermal rocket was being developed.