Construction on the solar tower is expected to be completed by 2017. Construction on the solar tower is expected to be completed by 2017. Construction on the solar tower is expected to be completed by 2017. (Photo: BrightSource Energy)

The world's tallest solar tower is under construction

When completed in 2017, it will help supply power to 120,000 homes.

When it comes to building the infrastructure needed for solar power, bigger is usually better. So it comes as no surprise that new facilities continue to grow in size.

In Israel, a country willing and eager to use renewable energy, the world's tallest solar tower is currently under construction. Once it's completed, it will rise 787 feet, twice as tall as the current record holder, located in California's Mojave Desert.

A joint project of General Electric, France's Alstom and an Israeli private investment fund Noy, the Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station is set to open next year.

The electricity generated at Ashalim will be enough to supply 120,000 homes with clean energy.The electricity generated at Ashalim will be enough to supply 120,000 homes with clean energy. (Photo: BrightSource Energy)

A field of mirrors covering 740 acres – roughly 665 football fields – will surround the tower and reflect the sunlight onto a boiler placed atop the tower.

The heated water in the boiler will produce superheated steam, which will be conveyed to a conventional steam turbine-generator via pipes to produce electricity.

The electricity generated at Ashalim will be enough to supply 120,000 homes with clean energy and will avoid 110,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year over the course of its life.

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