Technology knows no barrier. Thus a solar technology that originated in Spain has been making waves in the US since 2010. If you are still wondering what it is, we are talking about concentrated solar power or CSP technology. The country’s association with the technology can be traced back to 2010, when the Obama government gave the Spanish company Abengoa a red carpet reception. The bond has become stronger with each passing year. Abengoa has built two American plants in Arizona and California, supplying electricity to more than 160,000 homes, and also spurring local employment.
Solúcar Solar Farm – Where CSP Took off
When talking about the world’s modern technological wonders you just cannot forget the Solucar Solar Farm of Spain. Sprawling over three square miles, the farm nestles two tall and lean ‘power towers’. Surrounded by lush wheat fields, oak groves and ancient olive trees of Andalusia, this giant farm is the largest solar energy complex in Europe. Bathed in the rays of an otherworldly glow, the towers may look romantic and mysterious, but they were built to serve a more practical purpose – these have been a part of Spain’s push to produce more energy from renewable sources.
How does it Work?
The Solúcar solar farm has pioneered the CSP technology. As opposed to traditional solar panels that use photovoltaic cells to convert the sun’s rays directly into electricity, CSP banks on mirrors to harness solar radiation. Intense heat that is generated in the process is used to drive steam turbines, eventually producing electricity. The method is similar to the processes used in coal or oil-fired plants, but without polluting the environment.
The two towers – PS10 and PS20 – at the Solúcar site collect light reflected by 1,879 enormous glass mirrors. Called heliostats, these angled mirrors reflect the sunlight, while the radiated energy is then captured by a receiver located at the top of each tower. This reflected sunlight illuminates dust and water vapor in the air, resulting in the brilliant glowing rays. Heliostats face south, but changes direction to follow the sun as it crosses the sky. Heliostats in their full capacity can generate 300 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 220,000 households, or all of metropolitan Seville, the largest city of Andalusia.
Mirror-based CSP technology might be too big for your home, but PV arrays are not. If you want to turn your Tampa home into a solar-haven, we can help you install one.