Spain’s Aggressive Solar Program

Spain‘s Aggressive Solar Program | 31/03/12
by John Brian Shannon

In preparation for a more comprehensive article on solar power, this primer on solar power plants displays a photo of each of the three kinds of solar power along with a brief description.

  • Photo-voltaic (PV) can only produce electricity when the Sun is shining — which is when demand for electricity is highest anyway.
  • Concentrated solar power (CSP) – usually with a molten salt storage system to allow for 24 hour electricity power production.
  • Parabolic trough solar power, which also uses a molten salt facility to store heat overnight, so that electrical power can be produced 24 hours per day.
Puertollano Photovoltaic Park, Spain. Photo courtesy of RENOVALIA

Puertollano Photovoltaic Park, Spain. Solar photovoltaic panels provide plenty of power while the Sun shines and solar panel prices have dropped dramatically over the past few years, allowing non-subsidized competition with conventional (subsidized) power producers. Photo courtesy of RENOVALIA

Spain uses several different methods to collect solar rays and heat, turning daytime energy from the sun into electricity. The above pictured power plant uses photo-voltaic solar panels known as PV solar modules.

This PV solar power plant is located in Spain – producing 47.6 MW of electricity. For as long as it remains in operation it will save 84,000 tons of C02 per year, totaling 2.1 million tons of C02 over 25 years.

There are 231,653 Photo-voltaic solar panels on this site which meet all the daytime requirements of 39,000 homes in the region.

Spain's PS10 Solar tower power plant. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Spain’s PS10 Solar tower power plant. This type of power plant uses mirrors (heliostats) to reflect light and heat to the top of a central tower. This directed energy then heats a liquid inside the top of the tower, which then powers an electrical generator. This type of system can store huge amounts of energy for later use and can produce electricity long after the Sun sets. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

In March 2007, Europe‘s first commercial concentrating solar power tower plant was opened near the sunny Andalusian city of Seville. The 11 MW plant, known as the PS10 solar power tower, produces electricity with 624 large heliostats. Each of these mirrors has a surface measuring 120 square meters (1,290 square feet) that concentrates the Sun’s rays to the top of a 115 meter (377 feet) high tower where a solar receiver and a steam turbine are located. The turbine drives a generator, producing electricity. source Wikipedia

Spain's Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Spain’s Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant, uses mirrors to heat a liquid inside the metal pipe. The very high temperature liquid then spins a turbine, powering an electrical generator. This type of system can store huge amounts of energy for later use and can produce electricity long after the Sun sets. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Andasol 1 solar power station is Europe’s first parabolic trough commercial power plant (50 MWe), located near Guadix in Andalusia. The Andasol 1 power plant went online in November 2008, and has a thermal storage system which absorbs part of the heat produced in the solar field during the day. This heat is then stored in a molten salt mixture and used to generate electricity during the night, or when the sky is overcast. photo and source information – Solar Millenium


Spain is one of the most advanced countries in the world, in regards to the development of solar energy. The Spanish government committed to achieving a target of 12 percent of primary energy from renewable energy by 2010 with an installed solar generating capacity of 3000 megawatts (MW).


Spain added a record 2.6 GW of solar power in 2008, increasing capacity to 3.5 GW. Total solar power in Spain was 4 GW by the end of 2010 and solar energy produced 6.9 terawatt-hours (TW·h), covering 2.7% of Spain’s electricity demand in 2010. Source: Wikipedia
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