Spain plugs in largest solar-tower power plant | Green Tech - CNET News
Abengoa Solar of Spain on Monday reported successful tests of its second solar tower in operation, in which the sun’s heat is used to make electricity.
The 531-foot solar tower, located near Seville, Spain, features a number of improvements on the first design and has exceeded the anticipated output. Called PS20, the installation is the largest in the world with a capacity of 20 megawatts, enough electricity to supply 10,000 homes, according to the company.
A solar tower configuration uses a field of heliostats, or mirrors, to concentrate sunlight onto a receiver held in the tower. The heat creates steam which turns a turbine to make electricity. The PS20 project has 1,255 of these heliostats, with each heliostat having a surface area of 1,291 square feet.
Concentrating solar thermal technology has been used in desert areas in Spain and the southwest U.S. for decades and is seeing a resurgence as utilities seek out cost-effective solar power.