The reflected sunlight, which creates the intense glare that dazzles anyone who looks directly at it, heats the water to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, turning it into steam. In a process known as solar thermal power, the steam is then piped down to ground level, turning turbines to create electricity.
There are more than 25 similar towers across the world, including in China, Spain and the United States — but only one, in the United Arab Emirates, stands taller.
To its champions, the Ashalim tower is a sophisticated, trailblazing endeavor that displays the prowess of Israeli solar energy experts.
“I’m very proud of it,” said Israel Kroizer, an engineer who oversaw the installation and configuration of the 50,000 mirrors. “It’s a very complicated project.”
As part of the undertaking, several million dollars was spent on infrastructure in Ashalim, including roads and a youth club. The money came from Megalim Solar Power, the multinational consortium that built and runs the plant. The project also brought at least 70 new jobs to a remote and sometimes neglected region, lifting its economy, said Mr. Doron, the regional mayor.