Most hydropower plants employ conventional generators with one generator for each turbine. Generally both the turbines and the generators are designed for a specific site and the turbine and generator speeds are fixed. More recently variable-speed generators have also started to appear in hydropower applications. These allow an additional degree of flexibility by allowing the turbine speed to be varied in order to operate at the optimum efficiency under differing flow conditions. However variable-speed generators are generally more expensive than their fixed-speed equivalents.
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The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.