Cyprus turned to Australian scientists for help in designing and installing solar technology on the island of sun to move away from reliance on oil and fossil fuels.
The plan also aims to help solve a chronic water shortage plaguing the country and make sure of its plentiful number of sunny days to produce power.
A team from the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, took five weeks to construct a “solar thermal field” containing 50 heliostats – large mirrors that reflect the power of the sun – at Pentakomo, located in the south of Cyprus, The Guardian reported.
The CSIRO won an international tender to provide its technology to Cyprus for a trial that could lead to broad solar take-up in the country and elsewhere.
Cyprus is also trying to meet a European Union target of 13% of energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. Solar energy could also power desalination plants to help bring in more water.
The CSIRO technology uses mirrors to track the sun and reflect it towards a single receiving point on top of a tower. This heat then warms a fluid, in this case molten salt.
The molten salt, heated to 250C, is stored in a hot tank and the steam produced powers a turbine for electricity. This method allows for energy to be produced long after the sun has disappeared and produce power even on cloudy or rainy days.