Helios 1 Spanish solar power plant operational

By Adrian Bishop - 28 Jun 2012 12:35:42 GMT
Helios 1 Spanish solar power plant operational

Parabolic trough solar collectors; Credit: © Abengoa

Castilla-La Mancha, Spain: A new solar plant that produces enough energy to power 26,000 households has begun operating in Spain. The first of two parabolic 50MW trough plants, called Helios 1, is part of the Castilla-La Mancha Solar Complex and has been built by specialists Abengoa.

The installation is in Arenas de San Juan, Villarta de San Juan, and Puerto Lápice, in the city of Ciudad Real. The solar plant will cut the amounts of fuel and energy used and will prevent 31,400 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Helios 1 features 360 collectors over 110 hectares - which covers the same area as more than 150 football pitches.

Abengoa creates innovative technology for sustainable projects in the energy and environment industries. It has already installed solar power units generating a total of 593 MW for commercial projects and another 1,060 MW that are being built around the world.

Abengoa also provide solutions for producing biofuels, recycling industrial waste and desalinating sea water.

Parabolic trough collectors

Parabolic trough collectors ; Credit: © Abengoa

Company chairman, Felipe Benjumea, says that fossil fuel energy accounts for around 80% of power in Spain - much of which is imported - and that is unsustainable. Fossil fuels are the primary cause of global warming and therefore climate change.

As part of European Union moves to produce more renewable energy, Spain has agreed to use renewable power for at least one-fifth of its energy needs by 2020 and to do even more by 2050.

The key to moving forwards with more renewable energy supplies is finding innovate solutions and developing technology, rather than waiting for others to do it.

Spain's alternative power sector creates jobs for more than 120,000, contributes 1% of Gross Domestic Product and ploughs 2.67% into research and development - more than twice the national average, says Mr Benjumea.

When it comes to solar thermal technology, the country is a global leader and many of the 25,000 jobs created are in areas that otherwise have high levels of unemployment.

The cost of creating renewable energy is falling all the time and in a few years it could be cheaper than producing fossil fuels, he claims. This is backed by a report late last year from the European Association of Academies of Sciences that states thermoelectric power generation will be cheaper than fossil-based fuels within the next 10 years.

This fact is helping many renewable power plants to be constructed and provide real benefits for the community and the environment.

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Topics: Solar Energy / Renewable Energy