Solar flower power visions in the Negev Desert
The new tower-like solar power station at Samar Kibbutz in the Negev Desert in southern Israel is an energy supplier and design object in one. Called the “Solar Flower” this decorative, vibrant orange structure was designed by Haim Dotan, the architect of the Israeli pavilion at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.
30 highly reflective moveable mirrors, called heliostats, concentrate sunlight onto the tip of a 30-metre high steel tower. Housed within this two-storey, calyx-shaped bowl is the absorber to capture the solar radiation, a 100 kW gas turbine and the mechanical and electrical systems required to generate electricity. In the absorber air is heated to a temperature of around 1000°C and passed to the turbine for power generation.
The sun shines in the Negev Desert on 330 days of the year, creating ideal conditions for harvesting solar energy. Haim Dotan has ambitions to build more solar power stations in the desert: if he had his way, there would be whole gardens of different coloured “solar flowers” right across the country.