Located in the Andalusian countryside of Southern Spain, near Seville, is a giant 115 meter high concrete tower surrounded by a field of 624 huge mirrors. These mirrors collect the sunlight and focus it at the top of the concrete tower, where it heats water passing through pipes, converting it into steam. This steam drives a series of turbines that produce electricity. Simple, efficient, environment friendly and spectacular!
These 624 parabolic mirrors each having a surface area of 120m² are heliostats, that track the sun throughout the year, precisely focusing the sunlight to the top of the tower at all times. The temperature at the top rises to over 400'C (750'F).
The current capacity of the Solar Tower is 11MW. The plant when completed in 2013, will produce around 300MW – energy enough for 180,000 homes, equivalent to the needs of the city of Seville, and saving 600,000 tonnes of annual carbon dioxide emissions. We urgently need more of these.