This solar power tower in Spain acts as a powerful electricity generator and graceful work of landscape art. The 40-story high concrete tower is bathed in powerful rays of bright sunlight and it can be seen for miles. This effect is created by 600 large and intensely powerful mirrors which are used to concentrate the solar light and generate an astounding 11 Megawatts of Electricity! The plant generates enough energy to power the city of Seville and its population of 600,000!
The tower focuses the sun rays on a single location and generates steam which is used to drive the turbines. Here’s a more detailed description of the process (from the BBC):
- The solar tower is 115m (377ft) tall and surrounded by 600 steel reflectors (heliostats). They track the sun and direct its rays to a heat exchanger (receiver) at the top of the tower
- The receiver converts concentrated solar energy from the heliostats into steam
- Steam is stored in tanks and used to drive turbines that will produce enough electricity for up to 6,000 homes