If you have been anywhere near Almeria in Spain recently, you may have seen the biggest tulip known to man. Of course this is no ordinary tulip – rather, it is a solar power system that is capable of generating electricity by heating up the top of the tulip and using that heat to create electricity.
This is a smart system that has a series of rotating mirrors to direct the sun’s rays towards the top of the bulb and send some serious heat. You wouldn’t want to go anywhere near the top of the bulb, because it can go as high as 1,000 degrees Celcius in there. Ouch.
Apparently this particular tulip outputs 100 kilowatts-equivalent which is enough electricity to power five or six dozen homes, and the Tulip system can be scaled up. This could well be something we’ll see more of in the future, as it seems to be quite a simple and cost effective idea.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this whole thing is that the mirrors change position during the day as the sun moves across the sky. So whereas solar panels are fixed, these things move to catch the maximum amount of energy possible from the sun.
This is quite an amazing feat and it is probably the most exciting use of solar power in the world today. Stay tuned for more tulips coming very soon – perhaps near you.
The video below from AORA explains how the Tulip system works: