Spain's Abengoa gave members of the U.S. media a tour of its Solana solar power plant in Arizona, the largest parabolic trough plant in the world with the capacity to generate electricity for 70,000 homes.

The Solana generating station, which has thousands of mirrors, has a total capacity of 280 MW, a capacity similar to that of a nuclear power plant.

Solana went online on Oct. 8, generating clean energy from the sun.

"For us, this is extremely satisfying," Abengoa Solar CEO Santiago Seage told Efe, adding that Solana was the only solar power plant in the United States with storage capacity.

Solana can produce electricity for six hours even if there is no sunlight, Seage said.

"Electric utility Arizona APS (Arizona Public Service) needed a power plant that could produce electricity in the summer after nightfall to meet peak night demand from air conditioners. A photovoltaic plant (with solar panels) would not do because it could not produce when there is no sun," Seage said.

Abengoa has a 30-year contract to sell electricity to APS and the plant is connected to the utility's grid.

Solana cost more than $2 billion, with over 70 percent of the financing provided by the federal government "on very good terms," Seage said.

Abengoa is building power plants in Spain, northern Africa, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Chile. EFE