LOWELL GEORGIA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LOWELL GEORGIA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The last rays of the sun falling on some of the 1,800 mirrors of the 'Solar One' thermoelectric solar power station at sunset. The mirrors reflect sunlight to the top of a tower. There the light heats pressurised water, the resulting steam is used to turn turbines generating electricity. The mirrors are controlled by a computer to track the sun, turning at night in anticipation of sunrise. With an output of 10 MW (10 million watts), the station produces enough electricity to serve a community of 20,000 people. Based in the Mojave Desert in California, the weather allows the station to be operational for more than 300 days each year.
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