As an Air Force Test Pilot, I spent a lot of time in the Mojave Desert. Close to Barstow, there was a thing called Solar One.
A large tower with a circular array of mirrors that focused the reflected sunlight on a central point atop a tower. Originally the project used water/steam to power a turbine to produce power. You could see this thing for miles. Solar One became Solar Two and they added more mirrors and switched to molten salt for an energy storage medium.
Pretty cool, but not terribly efficient and birds that flew too close to the site could be caught in the concentrated sunlight and ignited. “Smokers” fell to the ground and died. Absorbent technology – like on the International Space Station would eliminate the smokers, but is also horribly inefficient.
That led me to the “what if?”
One of the key aspects of the upcoming novel is something I dubbed “black grass.” In the world of Solar Prime, it’s a highly-efficient patented technology that absorbs along a good bit of the electromagnetic spectrum – from below infrared to above ultraviolet.