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New solar systems
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CNN

CNN, December 11, 2007
Posted: December 17th, 2007

Widespread anxiety about the damaging effects of burning fossil fuels, coupled with a genuine fear that oil and gas will become scarce before the century ends are fueling a renewed interest in renewable energy and, in particular, solar power solutions. Research is increasingly focusing on 'concentrated solar power' systems -- CSP for short. CSP systems focus direct solar radiation through optical devices onto an area where a receiver is located -- much like burning a hole in a piece of paper with a magnifying glass. This solar radiation is then converted into electricity. In practice, the CPS system comprises of four elements - a solar field, solar collector elements, a solar receiver and ... the remaining systems required to operate a power plant. In Europe, a number of solar projects are being rolled out. Germany leads the way with over 10 solar power plants. Located in the Tabernas Desert in southern Spain, however, is the Platforma Solar de Almeria -- a solar power research facility where new solar technologies are being tested. One of the concepts being trialed is the 'central tower' configuration which utilizes a collection of heliostats -- mirrors which automatically track sunlight -- which act as solar collectors. The heliostats then concentrate the solar radiation onto a central receiver located at the top of a tower. Europe's first commercial concentrated solar power plant was officially opened in Seville, Spain in March 2007. The new Planta Solar 10 (PS10) is the first commercial solar thermoelectric power plant in the world. 624 large heliostats focus the sun's rays on to a single solar receiver 115 meters high. With temperatures reaching up to 250 degrees Celsius, the solar receiver then turns water into steam, which in turn powers a turbine. It has a peak capacity of 11 MW ... enough to generate 23 million kWh of electricity per year. That's enough to power 6,000 homes and save 18,000 tons of carbon emissions every year.

Note: For other reports of exciting breakthrough developments in new energy technologies, click here.

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