Eye on Spain: Solar Tower to Help Light Up Seville

A new solar platform will eventually supply all of the electricity needs of Seville, Spain.

Spain is now home to Europe’s first commercial concentrating solar power plant, an 11-megawatt facility located in the municipality of Sanlucar la Mayor, 25 kilometers west of Seville. It is the first in a series of planned solar plants for the area that will together produce more than 300 megawatts of power by 2013. Once completed, the entire platform will provide enough electricity to meet all of Seville’s energy needs (equivalent to the consumption of some 180,000 homes) and prevent the release of more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

The power plant, known as PS10, was inaugurated on March 30 at an event attended by government officials and representatives of Abengoa, the giant Spanish energy company whose affiliate, Solucar, built the facility. PS10 uses 624 movable mirrors, each with a surface area of 120 square meters, to concentrate rays to the top of a 115-meter tower. There, solar receivers and a steam turbine drive a generator that produces electricity.

The full Solar Platform will use a wider range of solar technologies and require a total investment of 1.2 billion Euro (US$1.6 billion). Funded in part by the European Union, the project will generate an estimated 1,000 jobs during the manufacturing and construction phase as well as 300 jobs in service and maintenance. “These new technologies give Europe a new option to combat climate change and increase energy security while strengthening the competitiveness of the European industrial sector and creating jobs and growth,” EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told the Environment News Service.


This story was produced by Eye on Earth, a joint project of the Worldwatch Institute and the blue moon fund. View the complete archive of Eye on Earth stories, or contact Staff Writer Alana Herro at aherro [AT] worldwatch [DOT] org with your questions, comments, and story ideas.