This stunning spiral of mirrored panels is the world’s first solar power station which generates electricity – at NIGHT.
The futuristic £260 million Gemasolar Power Plant is made of an an incredible 2,650 panels spread across 185 hectares.
The mirrors, also known as heliostats, focus 95 per cent of the sun’s radiation on to a giant receiver at the centre of the plant.
Heat of up to 900 degrees is used to heat molten salt tanks which create steam to power the turbines.
Unlike any other solar power station, the heat stored in these tanks can be released for up to 15 hours overnight or without sunlight.
This means it can work through the evening and on miserable days – and guarantees electrical production for a minimum of 270 days per year, up to three times more than other renewable energies.
The project, a joint venture between Abu Dhabu energy company Masdar and Spanish engineering firm SENER called Torresol Energy, took two years to construct at a cost of £260 million.
It is expected to produce 110 GWh/year – enough to power 25,000 homes in Andalucia, Spain.
Scientists working on the project claim the plant, which produces ‘clean’ electricity, can save more than 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
Enrique Sendagorta, chairman of Torresol Energy, said: ”Gemasolar is a revolution in the commercial solar power sector, as the standardisation of this new technology will mean a real reduction in the investment costs for solar plants.
”The commercial operation of this plant will lead the way for other central tower plants with molten salt receiver technology, an efficient system that improves the dispatchability of electric power from renewable sources.”