World's largest solar power plant opens in Abu Dhabi

The Middle East is known for their vast amounts of oil, and of course the money that comes from that oil. However, the region is also getting into renewable energy and alternative methods for providing electricity, most specifically the United Arab Emirates, which is now home to the world's largest solar power plant, located in Abu Dhabi.

Shams Power Company has opened the new Shams 1 concentrated solar power station that has a capacity of 100 MW and can power up to 20,000 homes and save up to 175,000 tons of CO2 every year, which according to Shams, is the "equivalent to planting 1.5 million trees or taking approximately 15,000 cars off the road."

The Shams 1 CSP plant uses over 258,000 parabolic mirrors that collect sunlight and concentrate it onto oil pipes that flow through the center of the mirrors. This heats the oil, and after being moved on to a heat exchanger, the heat creates steam that powers turbines that generate electricity. The entire plants covers just over 1.55 square miles.

Of course, this isn't the first CSP plant to be built. These types of solar power plants date back to the 1980s where the first ones were built in California in the US. However, it wasn't until today when the Shams 1 plant took the crown for the world's largest CSP plant. Of course, we'll most likely see larger ones being built in the future as green tech becomes more popular.

[via TreeHugger]