A solar thermal tower captures and transfers thermal energy to a steam generator that produces the steam necessary to rotate a power plant's turbine. The turbine transforms the kinetic energy in the steam into rotational energy that is transferred to, and stored in, an energy storage spring. A gear box / transmission (not shown), connected to and in between the spring and the electric generator's rotor, regulates the release of the rotational energy.
Another (optional) gear box / transmission, not shown, positioned between the turbine and the energy storage spring will allow for the independent operation of the energy storage spring and the electric generator. This flexibility allows the power plant to operate as a peaker power plant when connected to the electric power grid.
The energy storage spring, similar to the mainspring of a self-winding watch, can be fabricated from the spring steel that is found in junk yards, around the world, in the form of leaf springs.
This method is also applicable to dish type solar thermal installations.