Solar thermal keeps gaining traction. The latest announcement is for a joint venture between Abu Dhabi's Masdar and Spain's Sener. It will be called Torresol Energy, and the initial investment is €800 million (or $1.24 billion) into three solar thermal power plants to be built in Spain. The first will use an array of heliostats surrounding a central tower receiver (pictured above), and the other two will use parabolic trough technology (liquid is heated in tubes, then turned into steam to power a generator).
Solar thermal plants use mirrors and/or lenses to focus the sun’s light onto a receiver which absorbs the energy as heat. The heat is used to create steam and power turbines to produce electricity. There are a variety of designs and technologies used in these massive power plants, and companies are working on innovations to reduce the costs and increase the efficiency of the process.
::Solar Thermal JV to Spend $1.24B in Spain