The world’s largest solar power tower just began operating outside Seville, Spain—and it marks a historic moment in the saga of renewable energy. The solar tower PS20, seen above right next to its smaller sister PS10, produced even more power than expected over the course of its trial testing. It’s been confirmed that the groundbreaking solar tower generates 20 megawatts of electricity: and it’s now powering 10,000 homes with renewable energy.
The tower, built and operated by Abengoa Solar, is one of the more innovative examples of solar technology. Though we’ve seen similar solar towers before, we’ve never seen it executed on such a scale.
Here’s how it works, according to Abengoa:
PS20 consists of a solar field made up of 1,255 mirrored heliostats designed by Abengoa Solar. Each heliostat, with a surface area of 1,291 square feet, reflects the solar radiation it receives onto the receiver, located on the top of a 531 feet-high tower , producing steam which is converted into electricity generation by a turbine.
As for the energy benefits? Well, of course there are many: by Abengoa’s calculations, the plant will prevent over 12,000 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. And combined with PS10, which generates 10 megawatts of power, both stations combined are a renewable energy force to be reckoned with.
This is yet another sign that the renewable energy revolution is ramping up—Spain has long been a leader in alternative power, and this is yet another clean energy victory. But what’s even more encouraging is that Abengoa Solar now has a presence in 70 countries around the world—will we be seeing massive solar power towers springing up all over?