The PS10 Solar Power Plant (Spanish: Planta Solar 10), is Europe's first commercial concentrating solar power tower operating nearSeville, in Andalusia, Spain. The 11 megawatt (MW) solar power tower produces electricity with 624 large movable mirrors calledheliostats. It took four years to build and so far cost €35 million.
The mirrors were delivered by Abengoa, the solar receiver was designed and built by Tecnical-Tecnicas Reunidas, a Spanish Engineering Company; and the Solar Tower was designed and built by ALTAC, another Spanish Engineering and Construction Company.
Each of the mirrors has a surface measuring 120 m² (1,292 square feet) that concentrates the sun's rays to the top of a 115 metre (377 ft) high, 40-storey tower where a solar receiver and a steam turbine are located. The turbine drives a generator, producing electricity. As of May 2007, this power is three times more expensive than power from conventional sources, but prices may fall, as they have with wind power and as the technologies develop.
PS10 is the first of a set of solar power generation plants to be constructed in the same area that will total more than 300 MW by 2013. Power generation will be accomplished using a variety of technologies. The first two power plants to be brought into operation at Sanlúcar la Mayor are the PS10, and Sevilla PV, the largest low concentration system photovoltaic plant in Europe.
PS20 has been completed and is operating. Four more plants are planned: AZ20 and Solnova50-1, Solnova50-2, Solnova50-3, in the same area where PS10 is being built. PS20 and AZ20 are twin 20 MWe tower plants based on the same concept as PS10.
The PS10 solar power tower stores heat in tanks as superheated and pressurized water at 50 bar and 285°C. The water evaporates and flashes back to steam, when pressure is lowered. Storage is for one hour. It is suggested that longer storage is possible, but that has not been proven yet in an existing power plant. However, there are many considerations for using molten salt as an energy storage medium due to the great capability of storing energy for long periods of time with only insignificant losses.