Spain Opens World’s Largest Solar Power Station
With an average of 340 sunny days each year, Spain is a “natural” to use solar energy. The Spanish government recognizes this and has long subsidized renewable energy endeavors such as solar power plants. Now, with the new La Florida solar power plant, Spain can claim the title of being the biggest solar energy generator in the world.
The solar power plant in western Spain is a parabolic trough that covers almost 658,000 square yards. Arrays of parabolic mirrors collect reflected sunlight and use the sun's energy to heat liquid in tubes attached to the mirrors. The heated liquid is then used to create steam that runs electricity-generating turbines. The mirror array rotates to follow the path of the sun throughout the day, allowing the solar power plant to produce 50 MW of power.
The La Florida solar power plant brings Spain's total solar generated electricity output to 432 MW, which is as much as a nuclear power station typically generates. This is also 10 more MW of solar than that generated by the United States, the previous solar energy output leader.
Spain expects to reach 2,500 MW output from solar energy by 2013.