If you still need evidence that solar energy is a real, viable energy source, just take a look at what the oil and gas industry is investing in: solar.
As of yesterday, solar energy will also be used to help extract oil from the ground in a sort of symbiotic relationship. A concentrated solar plant, built by BrightSource Energy, has been built at a Chevron
Concentrated solar is different from traditional modules built by Trina Solar
In the case of Chevron's Coalinga field, steam will be pumped into the reservoir to lower the trapped oil's viscosity and allow the company to pump more oil. If successful, this could expand the life of an oil field by making more oil economically recoverable. Normally, burning natural gas in a generator provides steam for this process. This new technology allows oil companies to generate steam without burning fuel.
A use for concentrated solar
Concentrated solar has had a hard time competing with traditional solar modules as prices have fallen, but this may be just the break the industry needs.
The irony this time around is that solar is helping make oil more efficient and economical. Maybe the oil industry needs solar after all?
Keep up with any of the companies mentioned by adding them to My Watchlist, our free service that compiles articles about the companies you choose in one tidy place.
Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chevron and Total. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.