The first commercial solar power plant in the world that can generate electricity even without sunshine was inaugurated in October.
Located in the Spanish region of Andalusia, the Gemasolar plant is a 19.9MW facility that generates electricity using over 2,600 mirrors spread across 1.85 km2 that concentrate the sun's rays on to a giant receiver at the centre of the plant. The rays heat liquid salt to generate hot, pressurised steam which drives turbines.
The salt storage capacity allows the plant to supply energy to the grid for up to 15 hours when there is no sunshine, for instance at night and during cloudy periods.
Gemasolar is the flagship project of Torresol Energy - a joint venture between Spanish engineering group Senar and Masdar, the Abu Dhabi government-owned renewable energy development company. This state-of-the-art project was supported with an €80 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).