Solar thermal power generation

In addition to photovoltaics, solar thermal energy can also generate electricity from sunlight. The Spanish power plant Arenales near Seville generates environmentally friendly electricity for 50,000 households. In summer even around the clock*. How does it work?

7 hours.
Nocturnal electricity production under full load by means of thermal salt reservoirs

510.000 m²
Collector surface

156 rows
of parabolic mirrors

50 MW
Installed capacity

140 GWh
Electricity generation by the power plant each year

Heat transfer oil, heated by solar radiation, generates steam in a heat exchanger, which, as in conventional power plants, drives a steam turbine. In this way, electricity is produced by a generator, and fed into the grid. At the same time, a thermal store (salt store) is charged during the day. It ensures that electricity can still be produced after sunset.