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In a patchwork of agricultural fields outside Seville, Spain, two giant 40-storey-high concrete towers rise. The obelisk-like structures are surrounded by an immense array of mirrors that reflect sunlight, bathing the top of the towers with a blinding white light. The rays of sunlight reflected by hundreds of huge mirrors are so intense that they illuminate the water vapor and dust hanging in the air creating visible beams. The otherworldly spectacle is the world’s first commercially operating power station using the Sun's thermal energy to produce steam, which is used to power turbines to generate electricity.

The plant’s operator, Abengoa Solar, claims that it generates 11 Megawatts (MW) of electricity without emitting a single puff of greenhouse gas. The solar power plant, currently powers 60,000 homes, but when the project is completed sometime around this year, the plant should generate enough power to service 180,000 homes. The final project, which will be able to produce over 300MW, will include a series of towers, two more of which are being built, and standard photovoltaic power plants, as well as a mixture of newer parabolic solar collectors which will be installed at a later stage.

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© Amusing Planet, 2013.


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