Bright Hub has articles about a wide range of solar power topics. Learn more about this alternative energy source being used industrially as well as in the home. Methods of using solar power range from residential systems to utility scale solar power plants. Home solar power systems use photovoltaic solar panels, as shown in the picture at the left, to generate electricity. They may be independent systems using battery storage of excess solar electricity, or they may be tied into the electrical grid, so that excess electrical generation turns your electric meter backwards.
Most utility scale solar power plants use concentrating solar collectors to heat a fluid and then use a traditional Rankine cycle to generate electricity. The figure at the right shows one, a heliostat-solar power tower demonstration plant in Barstow California.
Image References: Photovoltaic panels on house - http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1355/540944183_75f3641734.jpg
Solar Two Solar Tower Power Plant - http://www.alt-energy.info/solar-power/is-molten-salt-the-secret-sauce-for-solar/