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A Solar Plant That Works Third Shift

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/blyzz/4133624072/in/photostream/">Blyzz</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

Let the sun shine! Or not. Spain's Gemasolar plant will generate electricity either way.

Say what?

It's true. Gemasolar is a heliostatic plant, meaning it doesn't use the photovoltaic panels we see in so many solar installations in the US. Instead, it takes in the raw solar heat and points it at a giant "battery" of molten salt. The superheated salt heats water in tanks, which moves turbines and makes power. It's got enough salt heat storage capacity (wow, what a phrase) to last 15 hours Which is probably overkill given that it's in Andalucia, and they get plenty of sun there.