Shortly after taking off from Seville, Spain en route to Cairo, Egypt, Solar Impulse 2 flew directly over the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant, a highly advanced facility run by Torresol Energy, a joint venture between Masdar and Sener. The 20-megawatt plant is the world’s first utility-scale solar power plant to combine a central tower receiver system and molten salt storage technology enabling electricity generation for 15 hours without solar irradiance electricity, thus guaranteeing a reliable energy supply 24 hours a day.
Commenting on the significance of the solar plane flying over the Masdar-invested plant, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Masdar CEO, said: “A key misconception about solar energy is that it is only viable during daylight hours. Yet we have just witnessed a solar-powered aircraft capable of flying day and night soar directly over the first plant of its kind to produce reliable electricity day and night. This moment is a powerful symbol of the potential of solar energy and clean technologies to power a sustainable future, whether or not the sun is shining.”
Gemasolar’s solar field covers 185 hectares and the facility is able to generate approximately 110 GWh per year, enough to power 25,000 homes. The renewable power produced by the plant offsets up to 30,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Together with the 50 megawatt capacity Valle 1 and Valle 2 plants also located in Spain, Gemasolar is one of Masdar’s most prominent international projects exemplifying Abu Dhabi’s commitment to driving the clean technology needed to secure sustainable energy for populations around the world.