Spain’s spectacular solar power plants =pictures=

Home » Journalism » Spain’s spectacular solar power plants =pictures=

Spain’s spectacular solar power plants channelling the blazing Seville sun

Mention solar power and people imagine weedy photovoltaic panels blighting the roofs of eco-friendly households and generating barely enough electricity to run a toaster. But the future of solar power could well be a lot more spectacular.

There are actually two solar power plants in the picture above, spread around two towers.

The larger array on the left, called PS20 by its Spanish owners Solucar, is still under construction; the smaller one on the right, PS10, is already supplying electricity to the local grid.

Both work by channelling the blazing sun of Seville (among the hottest places in the European mainland) into a searing beam of heat that boils water via a quartz window, generating enough steam to drive a series of turbines.

Around 92 per cent of the Sun’s heat is converted directly into electricity – and the amount of energy produced by such plants can be so intense that eco-energy advocates claim it can be used to separate hydrogen from water to drive eco-friendly cars.

All you need is enough sunlight – and rather a lot of sun-tracking mirrors, also known as heliostats.

In fact, PS10 has 624 of them, which concentrate enough energy onto a single point to deliver 11 megawatts of power, enough for about 5,500 homes. The PS20 plant has 1,255 heliostats and will produce up to 20 megawatts when fully operational in 2013.
The energy produced is expensive – around three times the price of energy from normal methods – but the technology is flourishing, and prices are likely to plunge, with new plants worldwide including one in the Mojave desert using 1.2 million mirrors.

Others are planned in Morocco and Algeria. Unsurprisingly, there are no plans for a similarly spectacular solar power plant here in Britain…

[ad name=”Single Post Banner 468×60″]

<<Editors notE>>
More of this n less of oil spills. Energy doesn’t have to be cheap yet since the western countries are the ones who will have the time, priorities and money for it first. And since we earn a tad bit more than the average “sweatshopworker” I think we can manage the extra cost for a clean future.


%d bloggers like this: