Daylight savings: Spain unveils nocturnal solar power plant

thumbnailby Sairica Rose

WHAT’S HAPPENING

  • Gemasolar, near Seville, Spain, claims to be the world’s first 24-hour thermosolar power plant (DiariodeSevilla.es, 5 October 2011).
  • The plant’s 2,600+ mirrors concentrate the sun’s rays to create superheated liquid salt during the day. The salt retains enough energy to generate power throughout 15 hours of darkness.
  • Inaugurated on 4 October, 2011 by King Juan Carlos of Spain and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the plant was developed by Torresol Energy as a joint venture between Spanish engineering firm Sener and Abu Dhabi energy company Masdar.
  • The Gemasolar plant is designed to produce nearly 20 megawatts of power, enough to supply a city of 100,000 people. Energy production will be higher in summer, but the plant will work all year round.
  • Industry Minister Miguel Sebastián asserts that, from 2013, Spain will have 40 more thermosolar plants, producing a total of 2,500 megawatts of power.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS

  • Sun is one of Spain’s most abundant natural resources. Proud of its thermosolar status, the country is forging international alliances to consolidate pole position as an alternative energy pioneer.
  • With thermosolar energy projected to produce 10% of the world’s electricity by 2050, energy giants are tapping in to clean up their footprints (and reputations).

RESOURCES

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