Solar Dish Engine

Concentrated Solar Power, Solar Energy Systems
and Net Zero Energy Solutions



Austin, Texas

Solar Dish Engine

What is a Solar Dish Engine?

A solar dish engine, or simply "dish engine" system is a concentrated solar power (CSP) technology that produces relatively small amounts of electricity compared to other CSP technologies—typically in the range of 3 to 25 kilowatts. Dish/engine systems use a parabolic dish of mirrors to direct and concentrate sunlight onto a central engine that produces electricity. The two major parts of the system are the solar concentrator and the power conversion unit.

Solar Concentrator

Illustration of a dish/engine power plant. Sunlight is shown reflecting off the large dish-shaped concentrator and onto the mounted power conversion unit to generate electricity that is fed into the power grid. The system looks similar to a large satellite television receiver dish.

Solar Dish Engine power plant.

The solar concentrator, or dish, gathers the solar energy coming directly from the sun. The resulting beam of concentrated sunlight is reflected onto a thermal receiver that collects the solar heat. The dish is mounted on a structure that tracks the sun continuously throughout the day to reflect the highest percentage of sunlight possible onto the thermal receiver.

Power Conversion Unit

The power conversion unit includes the thermal receiver and the engine/generator. The thermal receiver is the interface between the dish and the engine/generator. It absorbs the concentrated beams of solar energy, converts them to heat, and transfers the heat to the engine/generator. A thermal receiver can be a bank of tubes with a cooling fluid—usually hydrogen or helium—that typically is the heat-transfer medium and also the working fluid for an engine. Alternate thermal receivers are heat pipes, where the boiling and condensing of an intermediate fluid transfers the heat to the engine.

The engine/generator system is the subsystem that takes the heat from the thermal receiver and uses it to produce electricity. The most common type of heat engine used in dish/engine systems is the Stirling engine. A Stirling engine uses the heated fluid to move pistons and create mechanical power. The mechanical work, in the form of the rotation of the engine's crankshaft, drives a generator and produces electrical power.


Solar Dish Engine

Distributed PV  Net Zero Energy   Solar Thermal Systems*  Solar Trigeneration

"Net Zero Energy" to Become $1.3 Trillion/year Industry by 2035

Net Zero Energy Buildings Are Coming - What About The Buildings Already Standing?








What is a "Solar Cogeneration" energy system?

A Solar Cogeneration (or simply "Solar CHP") energy system combines a: 

1.  Rooftop PV solar panels 


2. Solar thermal collectors - which can be one of several types, i.e. flat plate collectors or evacuated tube collectors which generate hot water anywhere from 110 - 120 degrees F. to 170 degrees F. (and higher) depending on the collector type, for the best of both worlds (solar power plus solar thermal).

Solar Cogeneration energy systems provides a significantly higher return on investment, along with higher overall system efficiencies.

Solar PV power generators with 40%+ efficiency which generate DC electric power in the 500Wp to 30kWp per single unit, with Solar Thermal Power Generators with 20%+ efficiency, which simultaneously generate hot water up to 1650 F at 1.0 to 20.0 gpm per unit. The combination PV electricity -- hot water generation converts over 65% of the sunlight falling onto the systems into useful electricity and hot water.

Solar Cogeneration = Solar PV + Solar Thermal

Efficient solar power (PV and thermal) conversion system could replace the natural gas and/or electricity used by our customers for heating, and in their day-to-day energy demanding commercial operations.

Solar Cogeneration is a Cost-Effective Solution for Commercial Enterprises including:

Restaurants, Laundromats, Car Wash Stations, Canning and Food Processing Plants, Health Clubs, Large Office Buildings, Semiconductor Fabs, Hospitals, Hotels, Universities/dormitories, Apartments and Nursing Homes.

Solar Cogeneration systems can be installed in new as well as existing facilities and will soon be the accepted standard for commercial customers requiring energy, and located in sunny areas and electric rates are greater than $0.12/kWh. Solar Cogeneration systems will also play a significant role in new "Net Zero Energy" buildings as well as upgrading existing commercial buildings where emissions abatement (reductions of nitrogen oxides, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.) opportunities exist along with incentives. 

What is "Net Zero Energy?"

Net Zero Energy - when applied to a home or commercial building, simply means that they generate as much power and energy as they consume, when measured on an annual basis.

The U.S. Army now has a Net Zero Energy initiative to help reduce/eliminate America's use of foreign oil  - particularly oil from muslim/middle-east countries - which saves the lives of our brave soldiers in the military.

Why "Net Zero Energy Matters

Americans spend more than $400 billion every year for electricity and natural gas for our homes and commercial buildings, consuming more than 70% of all the  electricity used in the United States, which is about 40% of our nation's total energy bill. This also contributes almost 40% of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions.

By standardizing on Net Zero Energy and upgrading existing commercial buildings to Net Zero Energy, the USA increases energy efficiency and reduces the purchases of energy from all sources, both foreign and domestic.

Net Zero Energy Protects your Financial Health

The average family spends $2,200 each year on the power and energy needed for their homes. A Net Zero Energy home can reduce this amount by 80% to 100%.

Net Zero Energy Protects your Health and the Environment

Did you know that buildings (homes and commercial buildings) are responsible for: 

These harmful emissions are generated from the combustion of fossil fuels, which cause acid rain, haze, smog and cause breathing/respiratory problems for thousands of people. By increasing the energy efficiency of our country's homes and commercial buildings, we reduce these harmful emissions while reducing our monthly utility and transportation expenses. Imagine, never again receiving a monthly bill from your electric power or natural gas utility company!  Having a Net Zero Energy home or business can do that, or provide the option to "cut the cord" to the electric company in the future. 

Every new Net Zero Energy home or commercial building helps our country reduce (energy-related) greenhouse gas emissions. There is a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels of 17% by 2020.

Net Zero Energy Protects America's Economy and Leads to Energy Independence

The USA is still dependent on foreign oil.  Each day, the USA shifts the wealth of Americans, to foreign countries and foreign jobs.  With oil at $100/bbl, Americans send about $1.3 billion for the foreign oil we buy which adds up to almost $1/2 trillion every year. And that's also costing America thousands of jobs.
Net Zero Energy will help America become energy independent, create thousands of jobs in the USA and reduce our dependence on foreign oil from insecure sources and from countries that do not agree with our country's leadership or policies.

Building (and upgrading) homes and commercial buildings to Net Zero Energy with less reduces the problems relating to an old, inefficient electric power grid. Increased Net Zero Energy homes and commercial buildings also saves the need for building new central power plants running on fossil fuels, that are still highly inefficient at no more than 50% efficient. 

What does a Net Zero Energy home or building look like?

Net Zero Energy homes and commercial buildings can look like any other residential home, hospital, school or commercial office building, they do NOT have to be ugly or modern in appearance to be Net Zero Energy

And, your present home or commercial building can be updated to Net Zero Energy.








What is a "Solar Trigeneration" energy system?

A Solar Trigeneration energy system combines a: 

1.  Solar Electric Power System  with a 

2. Solar Water Heating System (which generates hot water with either solar thermal collectors or evacuated tube collectors)

and takes a Solar Cogeneration energy system one further step by adding and integrating either;

3.  Absorption Chillers or Adsorption Chillers, which receives some of the hot water from the Solar Water Heating System and provides the energy needed to make 38 degree chilled water for air-conditioning. 

We install our Solar Trigenerationsm Energy Systems, for qualified commercial businesses, as well as  cities, schools and government facilities with our Zero Up-front Cost program.

For some customers - based on their present location, utility company and electric rate - we are able to reduce their electric rate by 10%. Even more for other customers.  Solar Trigenerationsm Energy System!


Products and Services

Architecture  *  Buildings of the Future  *  Domestic Hot Water  *  Energy Master Planning

Evacuated Tube Collectors  *  Flat Plate Collectors  Net Zero Energy  Mechanical Electrical Plumbing 

Net Zero Energy Building Upgrades  *  Solar Cogeneration  *  Solar Thermal Systems  *  Solar Trigeneration


For the Upstream Oil and Gas and Utility Sectors, visit

Concentrated Solar Power  *  Concentrating Solar Power  *  Enhanced Oil Recovery

Improved Oil Recovery  *  Molten Salt Storage  *  Parabolic Trough

Concentrated Solar Power Concentrating Solar Power  CSP  Enhanced Oil Recovery
Improved Oil Recovery  Molten Salt Storage  Parabolic Trough  Upstream Oil and Gas utility


Follow us on Twitter 



  Renewable Energy Institute

"Leading the Renewable Energy Revolution"


Solar Dish Engine

Copyright © 2006
All Rights Reserved