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The world’s first solar power station that generates electricity at NIGHT

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It looks like a giant art project. But this symmetrical, circular pattern of mirrored panels is the world’s first solar power station that generates electricity at night.

The Gemasolar Power Plant near Seville in southern Spain consists of an incredible 2,650 panels spread across 185 hectares of rural land.

The mirrors – known as heliostats – focus 95 per cent of the sun’s radiation onto a giant receiver at the centre of the plant.

It lives by night: The Gemasolar solar power station near Seville has an incredible 2,650 panels spread across 185 hectares of rural land

It lives by night: The Gemasolar solar power station near Seville has an incredible 2,650 panels spread across 185 hectares of rural land

Heat of up to 900C is used to warm molten salt tanks, which create steam to power the £260million station’s turbines.

But, unlike all other solar power stations, the heat stored in these tanks can be released for up to 15 hours overnight, or during periods without sunlight.

The regular sunshine in southern Spain means the facility can therefore operate through most nights, guaranteeing electrical production for a minimum of 270 days per year, up to three times more than other renewable energies.

The project, a joint venture between Abu Dhabu energy company Masdar and Spanish engineering firm SENER called Torresol Energy, took two years to construct at a cost of £260million.

It is expected to produce 110 GWh/year – enough to power 25,000 homes in the Andalucia region.

The power station was completed last month. Its mirrors - known as heliostats - focus 95 per cent of the sun's radiation onto a giant receiver at the centre of the plant

The power station was completed last month. Its mirrors – known as heliostats – focus 95 per cent of the sun’s radiation onto a giant receiver at the centre of the plant. The heat stored can be released for up to 15 hours overnight, or during periods without sunlight

Miguel Domingo, spokesman for SENER, said: ‘The on-schedule and on-budget completion of the construction and commissioning of the Gemasolar plant is a milestone for SENER.

‘Currently, SENER is the only company in the world that has developed and built a commercial plant with central tower molten salt receiver technology that has already started operation.’

Enrique Sendagorta, the chairman of Torresol Energy, added: ‘The standardisation of this new technology will mean a real reduction in the investment costs for solar plants.

‘The commercial operation of this plant will lead the way for other central tower plants with molten salt receiver technology, an efficient system that improves the dispatchability of electric power from renewable sources.’

Heat of up to 900C is used to warm molten salt tanks, which create steam to power the £260million station's turbines

Heat of up to 900C is used to warm molten salt tanks, which create steam to power the £260million station’s turbines.

Via DailyMail

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