Themis solar power tower, France

Themis solar power tower, France

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Credit: ALASTAIR PHILIP WIPER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Themis solar power tower, France. This experimental solar power station is near Targassonne in the French Pyrenees. It was built from 1979 and operated from 1983 to 1986. After a period of two decades as an astrophysics research centre, the study of solar power resumed here in 2004 as the PEGASE project. The devices at the base of the tower are heliostats that focus sunlight on a boiler at the top of the tower. Some of these are being restored, others are being replaced with photovoltaic cells (solar panels) that harness the energy in sunlight directly to produce electricity. Photographed in 2012.

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