Rise And Shine!
Europe’s first commercially operating solar energy station rises 40 stories high, gleaming and glowing outside of Seville in southern Spain. Currently generating 11 Megawatts of electricity, the tower powers up to 6000 homes, with plans to eventually electrify the lives of up to 600 000 people.
Developed by Solucar, the thermal power plant intends to produce 23 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, avoiding the emission of 54 000 tones of C02 per year. It is the first solar thermal-electric power plant with central tower technology and heliostat field operated on a commercial basis anywhere in the world.
The solar station is surrounded by 600 heliostats (steel reflectors) which track the sun and direct its rays to a receiver at the top of the tower. The receiver coverts concentrated solar energy into steam. The steam is then stored in tanks and used to drive turbines that will produce the electricity.
The flip-side to its glory however, is the monetary costs which can be as much as three times that of coal or gas. Of course costs are expected to drop and this technology is attractive during times of peak demand such as midday in summer, when air conditioners run non-stop.
This BBC video takes you on a tour of the Seville tower.
A similar series of solar stations called The Solar Project, were in operation in the Mojave Desert just east of Barstow, California from 1982-1986. Nevada Solar One is being constructed outside of Boulder City and will be the third largest solar power plant in the world, generating 64MW. It is scheduled to become operational sometime in 2007.
At a more personal level are the elegant Corona solar powered outdoor lights, which can be staked to the ground, attached to a wall, or simply placed on a table top. The Corona solar light’s solar voltaic cell transforms sunlight into energy during the day, and its LEDs automatically start to glow when the sun sets. It uses no glues or fasteners, making it simple to disassemble for recycling.
It was a blazing hot, red-sun day today. A whole lot of untapped potential beaming down.Tweet