mattie_p writes that this was originally submitted by cmn32480 via the forums.
"According to Fox News, environmentalists are concerned about the impact of the world's largest solar plant, which is located in the Mojave Desert, on the local bird population. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (a solar thermal plant) covers nearly five square miles, has approximately 350,000 garage door sized computer controlled mirrors, and has temperatures near the boilers reaching 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant owners NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc., and BrightSource Energy say they have found dozens of dead birds in the complex in the last several months, some with burned or scorched feathers. The plant cost $2.2 Billion to construct, and had been held up in regulatory and wildlife relocation fighting for several years. It has officially been open since Thursday, February 13, 2014."
That may depend on your time frame. Certainly in space solar-voltaic has been proven, and solar-thermal hasn't even been tried. Probably the problem is that radiative cooling is inefficient. On Earth though, it seems less clear. Small installations have gone solar-voltaic. I haven't heard of, say, a sterling engine being used commercially. For larger installations, though, the trade-off may be different. It likely depends on what batteries are like. (Solar-thermal power is easier to store. All you need is some good insulated cavity to store it in.)
So one question is: How rare are the necessary trace elements? And another is: Can you make an efficient photo-cell & battery out of only the more common elements? These aren't important in the short term, but they matter greatly in the long term.