EC announces first commercial solar plant

April 3, 2007 at 12:06 PM
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SEVILLE, Spain, April 3 (UPI) -- The European Commission has announced the opening of Europe's first commercial-scale concentrating solar power plant.

The 11 megawatt plant in Seville, Spain, is designed to produce enough energy for 10,000 people while preventing about 16,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, the Environmental News Service reported.

The PS10 solar project uses 624 heliostats -- large, moveable mirrors -- to concentrate the sun's rays. The heliostats are at the top of a tower where a solar receiver and a steam turbine are located. The project was partially funded by European Union funds and Abengoa.

The EC said the use of concentrating solar power is important because CSP plants use solar radiation as a high-temperature energy source to produce electricity in a thermodynamic cycle, which traditional solar power does not do.

Additional solar electric power generation plants are expected to be constructed in the same area, totaling more than 300 megawatts by 2013.

The EC said it has been involved in funding CSP research and development for more than a decade.

"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," said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

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