Europe’s first commercial concentrating solar power plant was inaugurated today near the sunny southern Spanish city of Seville.
The 11 megawatt, MW, plant was inaugurated in the presence of the heads of the regional government of Andalusia and executives of the solar company Abengoa, whose parent company, Solucar, built the power plant.
The power plant in the municipality of Sanlucar la Mayor, 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Seville, took more than four years to build, from July 1, 2001 to December 31, 2005.
Known as PS10, the project produces electricity with 624 large movable mirrors called heliostats. Each of the mirrors has a surface measuring 120 square meters (1,290
square feet) that concentrates the Sun’s rays to the top of a 115 meter (377 foot) high tower where a solar receiver and a steam turbine are located. The turbine drives a generator, producing electricity.
PS10 is the first of a set of solar electric power generation plants to be constructed in the same area that will total more than 300 MW by 2013. Power generation will be accomplished using a variety of technologies.
The first two power plants to be brought into operation at Sanlucar la Mayor are the PS10, the world’s first tower technology solar thermoelectric power plant constructed for commercial operation, and Sevilla PV, the largest low concentration system photovoltaic plant in Europe.
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