This is how it works:
Fields of heliostats(a device that automatically tracks and keeps reflecting sunlight toward a predetermined target) are first installed and a tower is built with a furnace on the top in an optimal location inside the fields where sunlight is redirected onto the furnace. The furnace is then heated up and transmits the heat through a tube to a steamer on the ground level which in turn propels the generator to generate electricity.
This kind of solar power station takes up a wide land occupation by fields of heliostats. Take Solar One in the desert of California as an example, it used 1818 heliostats (39.1 square meters per heliostat) covering approximately 71084 square meters of land space with a tower as tall as 55 meters to generate 10 MW.
Solar power tower is made up with heliostats, receiver, heat storage device, central control system and power generation system. Heliostats are made from many flat reflective lenses controlled by computer to automatically track sunlight. The reflected lights are redirected to the receiver on the tower which is also called the heat collection furnace. The furnace turns the light into heat. The heat storage device used synthetic oil or molten salt to absorb heat and sends the thermal energy to steamer where the steam will propel the electricity generator. Central control system is a computer that monitors the overall operation to ensure safety. A solar power tower station operates under 500℃with a heat conversion efficiency of 15% or more.