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The Sun Temple

In the fields of Sanlucar la Mayor outside Seville, Europe's first commercial solar power station offers a startling glimpse into a future powered by renewable energy sources. The PS10 plant produces electricity with 624 heliostats (movable mirrors), each measuring 120 square metres. The heliostats concentrate the Sun's rays to the top of a 115 metre high tower where a solar receiver and a steam turbine are located. Its operator, Solucar, says that the plant will eventually generate enough power for the entire population of Seville, 600,000 people.

Three hundred kilometres to the east is another pioneering project: Andasol, Europe's first commercial parabolic trough solar thermal power plant. Two collectors have so far been built, each with a surface of 51 hectares (equal to 70 football pitches). Andasol 1, which is already in operation, is able to supply electricity for up to 200,000 people. In the middle of the day, demand and production both peak as air-conditioning units eat up electricity and the Sun blazes overhead.
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