Solar towers can generate electricity within a range of 10 to 30 megawatts. With this type of power plant, anywhere from several hundred to more than one thousand mirrors - also known as heliostats - follow the sun's path in order to focus the solar radiation onto one centrally placed receiver. The receiver is located on a central tower from which a heat transfer medium feeds the heat generated by absorption into a conventional power block to convert the heat energy into electrical energy.
The first solar towers generating a range of 10 to 20 megawatts have already been commissioned or are in their planning and construction phase.
Possibilities for application
A 20 megawatt solar tower power plant is capable of generating electricity for approximately 12,000 households. Steam and combined cycle power plants are not only able to be extended with the addition of parabolic trough plants but also with solar towers. Additionally, solar towers can be run in hybrid operation, too, by adding fuel-powered facilities and thus improving the availability and securing a continuous supply at the facility.