The Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station is located in the Negev desert about 35 km south of Be'er Sheva. The station will comprise of four plots, each based on a different solar technologies. Currently, three of the four plots are being developed.
Soaring 80 stories into the desert sky is the 121 megawatts capacity solar power tower. The tower uses a solar-thermal method - 50,600 mirrors, known as heliostats, are placed side by side on a 3.15 km² field surrounding the tower. These heliostats will reflect concentrated sunlight to a special boiler (Solar Receiver Steam Generator) positioned at the tower's top, where it will produce superheated steam to spin a turbine and generate electricity.The tower has to be especially high, 240m, in order to accommodate the crowded heliostat configuration, thus maximizing land use.
From a distance one would not be blamed for mistaking this great tower of power for the Cape Canaveral launch pad circa 1969. Photo courtesy of Megalim Solar Power
The Power Tower is the joint enterprise of BrightSource Energy (25%), General Electric (25%) and NOY Infrastructure & Energy Investment Fund (50%). Power from the project, set to join the Israel power grid in 2018, will be sold to the Israeli Electric Corporation under a long-term power purchase agreement.