Europe’s first concentrated tower open recently near the sunny southern Spanish city of Seville. The 11 megawatt plant took four years to build — it was created by a Spanish energy company, Solucar. The tower project is called “PS10” and it uses 624 large movable mirrors called heliostats. Each of the mirrors has a surface measuring 1,290 square feet that concentrates the Sun’s rays to the top of a 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.