In Andalusia, Spain, the world’s biggest solar power plant has fired up. The solar plant, Andasol, includes and incredible 600,000 parabolic mirrors, all electronically following the sun on its daily path across the sky. The lines of solar mirrors cover an area about the size of 210 football fields.
The project, situated in on the Guadix plateau, is a joint venture to the tune of €350 million by four German companies. Because the plant sits at an attitude of 1,100 metres above sea level, the air is clear and less turbulent, so the solar plant is able to collect more solar energy. The site also receives 2,000 hours of sunlight per year.
It’s debatable whether or not big solar power plants like this will end up being the main game in renewable energy. Rather, it could be that eventually most buildings become mini solar (and other renewable energy) power plants, so that a great deal of energy is produced at the most local level possible.
It could also be that that energy is eventually stored locally and shared across national and continental networks, much like the internet works today for sharing data between millions of computers. The power of distributed networks is often underestimated. Just asked the big music labels how quickly it has disrupted their business.
Nevertheless, it’s still relatively early days in solar power generation, and this is an impressive project to see go online at this time. It all helps.
Do you think power plants like this will be the main way of generating solar power in the future?